Newsletter #245

Unbelievable but… true!

I’m totally knackered after one of the most hectic MCIVTAs ever and that on top of jet lag. I can only thank God that Coppell resigned on Friday, as if he had done it on Thursday I think Linda (my wife) might have just stuck the modem through the computer screen – MCIVTA 244 would have stayed firmly at basecamp.

I’ve already received several mails asking me if there is some ‘X-file’ style connection between my absences and momentous (and negative) happenings at Maine Road – I deny any such connection but will never be leaving home again!

I’ll let the contents speak for themselves, suffice it to say that there is the usual diversity: passionate, thoughtful, reflective, but above all, from the heart!

This one reaches 1136, unless anyone has finally had enough!

Next game, Oxford United at home, Wednesday 13th November 1996


The bad news appears to be that Steve Coppell has resigned. A report issued by Bloomberg, the online news service, has said that Coppell has resigned due to ill-health. Report issued 12pm.

Struan Malcolm (

Steve Coppell has resigned as manager of MCFC after 6 games in charge. Coppell says it was the amount of pressure linked with the job that meant he was unable to function properly and resigned on medical advise. Phil Neal has taken over on a caretaker manager basis. Bad news for all conected to the club.

David Swindells (

Steve Coppell has just resigned as manager of Manchester City. Announced at 2:00pm after just 33 days in charge, he blames mounting pressure for quitting.

Where to now for City?

James Talbot (


Greater Manchester Publications (who also produce City Life, Wigan mag etc.) are taking over publication of CITY magazine forthwith. The next issue should be out December 2nd. As far as I know, all subscriptions will be honoured. The magazine, like GMP, will be completely independent of the MEN. I will still be editing it and all the regular contributors will remain. Hopefully, we’ll have an interview with the new manager in it!

Steve Anglesey

This was posted to Blue View under the name Steve Anglesey. Steve is the editor of CITY Magazine. Geoff Tatam (101614.1275@CompuServe.COM) informs me that the telephone number for GMP is 0161 839 1416 – thanks Geoff.

Paul Howarth (


As reported on BBC Radio 5 Live, Saturday 9 November.

During a “friendly” match between a team of Georgian and British journalists covering the World Cup qualifier, a certain Mr T Brooking was involved in an altercation with two opposing players. The outcome of this was the sending off of the two Georgians, and four stitches in the nose of the much loved Trevor Brooking.

I am sure all City fans would join me in wishing Trevor “Manchester” Brooking a speedy recovery.

Keep the faith, Russell Town (


Things seem to be no better on the financial front than the playing front judging by the latest fiscal results from Maine Road. Last year the club had a working deficit of £3,000,000 (compared with a profit of £203,000 the previous year) despite still being in the Premiership. The club now has debts of £26 million to set against an asset base of £33 million. Where the club could possibly find any money for transfers I really don’t know. The AGM will be on Thursday 5th December and I expect sparks to fly.

Meanwhile, the manager speculation has started all over again with Ron Atkinson being the first name to be linked with us. Ron denies that he has had any approach from City.

The Mole

Hopefully we’ll get a report on the accounts from someone as we did last year, any offers?



We have official confirmation (if it were needed) that Steve Coppell has indeed resigned his position as the manager of Manchester City. The reason given was failing health. His replacement for the “foreseeable future” is Phil Neal, who isn’t saddled with the uncertainty of the title “Caretaker Manager” usually associated with these situations.

Meanwhile, the deal for Mark Schwarzer, the ‘keeper from Dynamo Dresden is still going through even though he has returned for the moment to Germany. Michael Brown, now fully fit is reported to be fighting hard for a place in the first team.

Steve Bolton (


Thanks for all the favourable comments on the shirt designs. I decided to take everyone’s first choice and tot up the votes. The results were:

‘Our World Is Blue’ (pun intended)21 votes Our World Is Blue
‘Five Flags’11 votes
‘MCIVTA Mascot’8 votes
‘What is MCIVTA’5 votes
‘Exploding Chest’4 votes
‘World Map’3 votes
‘Oasis 2’3 votes
‘Oasis 1’2 votes
‘Oasis 4’2 votes
‘Oasis 3’1 vote

It looks as though the price will be £5/£6. I will send a finalised design to Svenn soon.

Voting for the October Player of the Month has commenced. Remember to send your votes in 1, 2, 3 order. The games covered are:

  • QPR away, drew 2-2 (Brightwell, Kinkladze)
  • Reading away, lost 0-2
  • Norwich home, won 2-1 (Clough, Dickov)
  • Wolves home, lost 0-1
  • Southend away, won 2-3 (Rösler, Kinkladze 2)

Please send in votes by November 16th

Ken Foster (


The next Internet Blues game is scheduled for Sunday 17th November 3:00-4:30 (thanks Matt) at the Armitage Centre. Unfortunately Paul Burton (Alty list) will most probably be unable to field a full strength team, so once more there may be a need for volunteers to play for the opposition. However, if everyone turns up who said they would then we should be able to have another game. Anybody interested playing can they mail me and let me know (those who already have done, don’t bother unless you have a change of heart), I’ll post more details later in the week.

Many thanks to the volunteers.

Martin Ford (


I’m heading back to “Old Blighty” on 24th November, hoping to get a few games under my belt during my stay. Got to be better than last time I was back, when I got to see only 1 1/2 games. Villa postponed, Ipswich abandoned at half time, and the FA Cup game against Leicester.

If any of you Singapore and HK Blues fancy a beer and a yarn etc, please drop me a note. It would be very much appreciated. I’m in Singapore 24th November-26th November, and in HK 31 December- 2 January.

Mike Mulvaney, Pendlebury Blue (


Steve Coppell accepts the job having been told £5 million is available for players. He takes a good look at the squad and decides we need a new goalkeeper first. He wants Kevin Miller from Watford for £2 million but Francis won’t let him buy. So he sets his sights a little lower, going for Luton’s Tony Feuer at £1,000,000 but no, Franny won’t let him have him either. Soon afterwards, it is suggested to Steve that he takes a look at Mark Schwarzer who is available for a mere £250,000 from Dynamo Dresden.

Has Franny’s meddling driven Steve to the verge of cracking up?

Is this the theory of a rampant Franny-beater? No. It’s what was said by a member of the original “Forward with Franny” team on a radio phone-in on Friday afternoon.

Paul Howarth (


A few people asked about a pub to meet in for Saturday’s visit to Portsmouth. A suitable venue from the Football Fan’s Guide would seem to be “The Rutland Arms”, 205 Francis Avenue, tel: (01705) 737 886. This is a Whitbread pub (including various beers such as Pedigree, Boddingtons, Wadsworth 6X plus guestbeer), it’s open all day and has rolls on match days.

Francis Avenue is off the A2030 (Goldsmith Avenue) about halfway beteen Fratton railway station and Fratton Park, on the opposite side of Goldsmith Avenue to both the station and the ground.

Paul Howarth (


Please God no, tell me it isn’t true, why us?

Sean (

Somebody, somewhere is taking the p**s aren’t they?

Thomas Rance (Ttrance@AOL.Com)


Just to clear up a recurring theme on mcivta, the Rags’ Swamp is in the Borough of Trafford; hope this puts everyone’s mind at rest.

Stay Blue!

Gary Sowerby (

In reply to Paul Howarth’s boundary question, the Rags are well and truly in Trafford. So they’re not in Manchester or Salford, can they be classed a team coming from the sticks?

Tony Shaw (


There I was talking about consistency when guess what? All this could only happen to my City… OK folks, now we have to dig deep into our reserves of strength and face up to another bout of public ridicule with the sort of resolve which we have been accustomed to showing. I do not know who will want to step into the breach in the knowledge that the previous manager only lasted 6 games before his “doctor” told him to throw in the towel.

By the way, a friend of mine told me he met Coppell at Maine Road at a reception only a couple of weeks ago and he told me that Coppell looked well and up for the challenge. He assures me that both Coppell and Lee looked very well indeed and there was no sign of any “doctors” in the boardroom! All this makes me wonder what is really going on at Maine Road and I also wonder if Coppell’s recent comments about insufficient funds to bring in the calibre of players that he (Coppell) would need, have anything to do with his sudden illness!?!

It seems it is going to be a long Winter for all of us!

P.S. Where did I leave my rum bottle?

Clive Tysoe… The Caribbean Blue (


I always devote Saturday mornings to listening to the BBC Overseas Service Sports programme, I expect most of us Ex-pats do. I say ‘mornings’ as I live five hours West of UK in New Jersey, or as now, six hours in Mexico, but I always tune in.

This is for those of you in UK who go to a match, listen on Radio 5, or as this week, perhaps watched the England vs. Georgia game on TV. Today the presenter, Simon Hill, said he was a big fan of Kinky, and, when he played the recorded Coppell resignation statement, I think he said “Us City Fans” (reception is a bit dodgy down here so I’m not absolutely sure of that)! He also mentioned that Trev Brooking was knocked about a bit in a “press” match, I was expecting him to say “as a result of calling the Rags “Manchester””, but he didn’t.

He also had Sir Stanley Mathews with a tribute to Tommy Lawton and he, Sir Stan, was criticial of modern day wingers. He said that when you cross the ball you should put the ‘keeper in panic mode, not knowing whether to go out or stay in. I thought that to be a great objective for our wingers, and then realised that that may be Dibble’s problem. He never seems to know which to do judging by our reports.

Here in Mexico I can enjoy watching Jorge Campos on TV. I saw him on Wednesday playing in goal for Mexico vs. Honduras, and again today in the Atelante vs. Pachuca league game. He is probably the best distributor of the ball I’ve ever seen. Today, at the 80 minute mark, he put on a number 9 shirt and played up front! I don’t think we should try that with Dibble. I hope this has been of some interest to you who don’t rely on the Beeb and MCIVTA for their news, but all in all I would have preferred to have seen the Georgia match live.

John Clarke, Zihuatanejo, Mexico (


OK, which City fan hit him?

Tony Shaw (


I read with interest George Larcos’ opinion that Mark Schwarzer was “heart attack” material and that during the Australian vs. Canada game, the crowd went silent every time the ball went near him.

Well, George must have been in an entirely different section of the Sydney Football Stadium than I was at this game, as I certainly have no recollection of the crowd going silent.

I do however, recollect Mark being hailed as a hero for his performance that day, as his penalty saves allowed Australia to advance to play against Argentina for the final place in the last World Cup, where they were unluckily denied by an own goal in Beunos Aries.

As someone who has closely followed Mark’s career at club level in Australia, let me say the only surprise as far as I am concerned is that he is not already a regular in a top European side’s first team.

After leaving Marconi, he moved on to Dynamo Dresden and is now with Kaiserslautern.

I accept that football is a game of opinions, and George is entitled to his just as I am to mine, and I guess Mark’s performances in a Man City shirt will eventually prove who is right.

But, as I say, I have followed Mark’s career for a long time, and never once have I gone silent when the ball was played into the box, and my doctor has confirmed that my heart is in excellent nick.

Maybe we should all give the boy a chance before we start decrying him?

Fred Legget, in sunny Sydney (


Some thoughts following the latest McVittee (MCIVTA 244)

But first, my brother heard a rumour that the home game against Tranmere is supposedly going to be live on TV; can anyone confirm/deny this?

Beeb and Bwookin’s ramblings

Sorry folks, but Twevor has been doing this for years, so why has everyone just picked up on it now? Yes, it’s an annoying little trait, which he has been using for years (or do all suhvanhers do it ;-)) ?) but surely we’re just sinking to the levels of the Rags, so stop moaning. Yes, and this statement comes from one of the biggest, bitterest Blues around, yup me!

Top Manchester Team?

The year 1989, the position above the Rags? Go on then, somebody put me in my place, but didn’t we finish below the Rags that year, even though we hammered them (23/9/89 what a day, what a result!). Didn’t we finish on level points, but they had a slightly superior goal difference, so they ended up 16th, City 17th?

Gio – club owner

Nice one Gio, at least you’re willing to give something back to your heritage. A player who cares enough to resurrect a club in his old country, makes your heart warm! He’s prepared to spend his own hard earned foreign currency to keep a dream alive.


What’s new, I’ve been bemoaning the atmosphere ever since I first sat in the new Kippax Stand, especially where we sit, Upper FF, it’s like a morgue. You feel like you’re disturbing someone’s sleep if you let off steam! I’ve had enough of trying to get the crowd going, I’ve had the will knocked out of me. Maybe the idea of a singing section is a good ‘un, but will the club ever get round to creating the area? If it’s anything like the fiasco we had last year when we wanted to change seats (but that’s another story) for this season I doubt it’ll ever come about.

Thomas Colnot

Can spot why every self-respecting Blue, or plain old other footie fans, don’t like the Rags and he comes from Germany! Every country sounds like they have the Rags equivalent, in Germany it’s Bayern Munich. What is it then, the arrogance, the fans, the club’s image, that leads to the jealousy? Yup, all of the above!

Interesting(?) aside. I watched Sgorio on Wales Channel 4 (S4C) on Monday (4th Nov), which shows European matches. OK the commentary and comments are in Welsh but who needs that? They showed a German game, Bayern Munich vs. Munich 1860, so who did I side with, yup 1860. The game ended up 1-1, the 1860 ‘keeper had saved a penalty, which was a dubious decision, and it kept 1860 in the game. They came back and scored to level at 1-1 and the big blonde Bayern ‘keeper (Kahn) made some incredible saves to keep them in the game (sound familiar to some big Danish oaf, not a million miles away from the Academy), all round it was a pretty entertaining game, with a deserved result.

Red Whinge

Anybody else see that Fergie was moaning in the Daily Express (honest I don’t buy it, my dad does) and asking why everyone hates/loathes the Rags. He’s had ten years in charge and he still asks, take off those blinkers, listen to the criticisms and then understand, you Rag!

Ahhh, that’s better!

Martin Ford (


Christine Haynes said that the Rags are regularly featured on MOTD, This is because of the fact that the BBC own shares in them. I did notice a recent game that did not recieve the full highlights treatment. Namely the Southampton game, I wonder why?

Thomas Rance (Ttrance@AOL.Com)


No you’ll be glad to know I am not going to burst into song! My opinion has just come to me in a flash (desperation and depression do very strange things to you, believe me!). Let me describe the scene for you: it’s Friday 8 November 1996, 1pm, I’m at work and a colleague who supports as Mr Brooking would say (and has done on every Match of the Day commentary I’ve seen and every radio programme I’ve heard) Manchester, has just broken the news to me. Now you know why this is rambling and incoherent. I’m sure you all understand. So anyway here’s my idea:

At the next home game (City versus Oxford, Wed 13 Nov) at the half time draw instead of offering the prize of £1,000 to the lucky person with the winning ticket or two tickets to the next game to he runner up, or a video of City’s highlights (!) to the third person, why not offer them the manager and assistant’s jobs? May sound radical I know but I think drastic measures are called for. Surely someone in the 20,000 plus at Maine Road can have some ideas as to how to win a game – or to be greedy a few games. If not it would be nice to be able to voice your opinions to some of the players. Anyway I’m off to sink my head into my hands and then sink a few pints tonight!

Still Blue – very blue, Tricia Joyce (


I was surprised how sad I was today when I was told that our manager had resigned due to stress.

Steve was the only one with the bottle to take on the mantle of manager at MCFC. In his short time with us he has changed the team beyond recognition – we are undoubtedly fitter and have regained a little of the confidence that was thrown away under Ball’s ‘management’.

He was clearly a man who knew what he needed to do but due to money and time constraints was unable to introduce some of the changes needed. Reports from Platt Lane were encouraging with the team apparently training and working to improve shortcomings. I for one had great faith in his longer term prospects. I do not think we stand a chance of promotion this year but firmly believed that next season we would be in a very strong position to be be promoted and not just survive in the Premier League but to be capable of challenging for honours.

I would just like to say thanks to Steve and wish him and his family all the best for his health and the future. I hope that if he ever returns to Maine Road. he will be welcomed as a True Blue and not as an ex-Rag.

We are now in the position of having our fourth manager of the season and it is only November – perhaps we can get in the Guinness Book of Records?

My tickets have arrived for the Portsmouth match and I fully expect us to get stuffed (there are too many ex-City players playing for Portsmouth). I also think it will be freezing cold with snow, sleet and a hurricane (we are in the open end). But I hope all the fans going will prove just what it is to be Blue in this season where events have proven to be just beyond belief.

Andy Birkin, Crawley – South Manchester (


I cried today. I don’t cry over football very often, but today I did. The only other time I cried over football was when we lost to Luton – relegation was so unexpected.

Why did Steve resign? Ill health, no money to spend, too much interference in team affairs – who cares the result is the same. My club is now a complete and utter shambles and staring into the abyss.

Some will call Steve a Judas, but we must not seek recriminations. If his heart is not in it, it’s better he goes now than in 6 or 7 months time.

If we finish the season in lower than 13th place, it will be our worst season ever – yet the way things are going on, we will pobably be relegated again. We have a reputed £20 million overdraft, no money to spend on new players and a squad who (if their performances are anything to go buy) do not care a fig for the club or its supportners.

Who in their right mind will manage us now? To steady the boat, we must appoint a manager within the week. No decent external candidate will come to us now, so we must appoint internally. The only possible candidate is Neil McNab – look how the youth team is progressing.

P.S. Keep the faith, one day a phoenix will rise from the ashes.

Richard Mottershead (


Our friends across the city have given their leader (a Mr Martin Edwards) a 30% pay rise. No he has not just become an M.P. He has helped (along with a lot of sad muppets who buy 3 kits a month) the Rags ™ to profits of £15.4 million; this is after spending of £28 million this season. Now I tell you this so you can compare our figures printed today.

We have a loss last season of £3.1 million; this is over a £203,759 profit the season before. This now gives us a total debit of £26 million and assets of only £31 million! Some of the loss is due to the new Kippax, transfer fees (well that’s what the paper says), interest charges up from £564,000 to £1.3 million and admin up from £2.8 to £5.2 million! How much is the ticket office on and can I have a job there!

All in all not a very good picture is it? Where was the reported £5 million for transfers coming from? I know we have taken a lot more of the outside interests over, but have we got some old managers working on admin as the jump is dramatic to say the least! How long before the banks start to look at us as a site for the next ASDA? Who is going to come to us and try to manage us on nothing but a wing and a prayer?

I don’t have the answers to the above, but Franny must! If not then come the AGM he and the board will have a very hard time. Now I am not going to start an out with Franny campaign, just the opposite. I do not know who would take us over now, if any of the “money” men that we are told are hovering in the shadows are for real then this would be the time to mount a take-over bid, I am sure the banks would welcome the new money. The thing is they seem to have gone very very quiet haven’t they? As I said I am not going to slag off Franny until there is something or someone better (how’s that for a back handed compliment?), but I feel there has to be some heat directed at the rest of the board, where is their money now? We have been told for the last 2 years that City was getting back on a “firm financial footing”, but the figures seem to say otherwise don’t they? With the loss of money from BSkyB things are going to get worse long before they get better.

So to the manager. At the time of writing this it is Mr Neal (it could have changed by the time you read this!), and as FHL has said he is manager for the foreseeable future. Now to be honest he would not get on my top 100 to manage MCFC, but he is here and as with Franny we must give him our support until there is someone better, and I would have to question the sanity of anyone who would want to come to this club at this time. It hurts me to say that, but I feel we must start to put the past behind us and God forbid look forward to two to three seasons in this division, which with the players we have we will be lucky to stay in this season! We now have to look to the way we are and not the way we were. We are now a small team, both on and off the pitch. We will not always be like this, but if we keep trying to live in the past we may not see our future dying. So as fans we must keep turning up! One of the few bright lights was that the gate receipts were up 21% to £5.5 million. To all who keep singing “if you hate Man Utd clap your hands” I say forget them! We are nothing to them and we must stop giving a s*^t about them! We should be more interested in what is going on at Bolton or Wolves now, we have to start living for today and not yesterday, we have to be there when we start to build for the future, so we can say “we were there when we were s**t”.

I am sorry if this has come out as being a bit down, maybe it’s due to the fact that I am still hung over from the weekend (and it’s now 4:15 Monday afternoon), but I am trying to be constructive, it is going to be a long and very hard road back, with no quick fixes, we cannot go more into debt or the banks could close us down and we should not have to if we a give them time to build from within, let the young ones come through, yes they have had 20 years but they need us now more than ever!

See you all at Oxford, Blue now and forever more!

Sing your hearts out for the lads…
Sing your hearts out for the lads!

Tony the tattooed Donkey (


So… how about the fans calling a press conference on Wednesday? It could go along these lines: We know it’s unfair on the players, and we’re a little embarrassed by this, but the stress and strain of the past twenty years has taken its toll and we feel unable to give the club our full support. It’s a bigger task than we imagined it to be so we are walking away from it. Cheers Steve Coppell. There are those who might say Man U plot… but that would be unfair. Wouldn’t it? Why don’t you try teaching, or nursing… two careers that carry a lot of responsibility, without a £200,000 salary. It could have hardly come as a surprise that the City job was going to be an uphill struggle. You’ve let us down badly and what’s more, you’ve left us with Phil Neal in charge. This is the worst season I have ever known in all my years supporting City. We’ve always been quite friendly with Chelsea fans, because they are a similar club to ours… dictator Chairman, promise but never deliver etc. … but on the day they sign their third Serie A star in Zola, we lose our third manager of the season… the gulf has never been wider. Thankfully we are spared further embarrassment by not being in the Premiership. Imagine if it was Newcastle on Wednesday, instead of Oxford!

Finally… good luck to the Man City (almost three) against England tomorrow – we need something to cheer.

Kev Cummins (


It could only happen to us but in the cold light of the morning after, having had time to reflect on those pictures of poor Coppell close to tears, I’d just like the opportunity to wish the man well and hope he puts all his energies into getting better and not into agonising about what he’s had to do.

He came to us with a reputation for honesty and integrity and he’s had to make an honest and painful decision. Stress is a killer and it hovers over us all – perhaps gets a damn sight closer most Saturday afternoons 🙂

Still a bright future? Of course. Next headline might be

Neal ‘resigns’ Flitcroft, Hendry, Walsh, whole of Georgia etc. 🙂

Get well soon Steve Coppell.

P.S. Keep the faith, one day a phoenix will rise from the ashes.

Martin Wakeling (


Together with most if not all City supporters I am deeply disappointed about his resignation. I can only say that IMHO it was very irresponsible to say the least. If he knew he was under so much pressure he must have known it was a big gamble taking on this job.

What created the most suspicion was when Symons and Phil Neal both said that it came as a great surprise, Symons particularly said he didn’t notice any stress in the man during his 33 days there and Neal also stated something similar. I personally think he copped out for whatever reason, but this is really the icing on the cake and the ultimate insult to Manchester City Football Club.

We have been through enough c**p recently and we certainly didn’t deserve this treatment on top of everything else. I particulary feel for FHL because he certainly has the club and its supporters at heart and has worked hard getting a replacement for Ball. He certainly doesn’t need this type of aggro in his life.

The days of City being a well-respected club are vanishing and we are more of an embarrassment than anything else, what with the tragic events in recent years and months. Teams like Bolton who were nowhere are now considered a better team and all we have left are memories and a great stadium.

I don’t know where we go from here, and I don’t see Neal being our saviour, FHL can only keep looking for a top class manager who can turn the team around with the help of a few good players, it may sound easy but it certainly can be done. Look at what Todd is doing at Bolton after being fired from his last job.

What’s missing is the chemistry and until we get that right we will keep on suffering.

Maybe this is all meant to be and our big boss up there has something else in mind for us?

Let’s keep the hopes up.

Claude Nuttall, Cape Town (


Re. Steve Coppell’s resignation; initially it appears, as the song goes, “So bizarre.” However, on reflection it is really sad. I saw the press conference on TV and was shocked to see the obvious signs of strain on Steve Coppell’s face. He looked drained of energy and spirit. What worries me even more was that if anything, the new manager Phil Neal looks even worse. After seeing Phil “coping” with the pressure of the England job on the Graham Taylor video, I wonder how long he will last.

I wonder if the habit of appointing ex-players as managers is becoming outmoded, particularly in the top divisions. Today’s players are virtual millionaires in a relatively short time and at a very early age. This must cause “problems” that most of their managers have little or no experience of and therefore find difficult to handle. If you look at it from a business point of view, large corporations would certainly bring in psychologists or some other type of “ologist,” and do psychometric tests to check the managerial candidates’ capability of handling the stresses and strains attached to the job. Maybe this should happen in football today? What a far cry from what football was not too long ago; a game of, and for the people.

It makes me more convinced that we’re seeing the game hijacked from us and taken from the back pages of the tabloids to the financial pages of the broadsheets, Anyway maybe it’s just me and I’m getting “uncool” in my dotage, and I hope thats all it is, but I wonder if anyone else has similar fears?

Finally for all you Blues who are probably wondering how we Reds feel at the recent run of defeats we’ve suffered well I’ll tell you: It’s not bloody fair!

Keep dreaming and best wishes, the Wythenshawe Exile, Leo Fewtrell (


I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this before, but I saw with some amusement that the Rags are launching their own brand lager. Maybe City should do the same. However, if we were to launch any sort of drink, it would have to be bitter 😉 At least this would show that we have a sense of humour (unlike some other teams and people in the press).

Having said that about sense of humour, I am getting rapidly unamused with the press and their “Maine Road managerial merry-go-round”. It is incontrovertible that we have had 6 managers in 7 years (Machin, Kendall, Reid, Horton, Ball, Coppell if I’m correct since 1989); however three of these resigned (although Ball was a borderline case). Whilst 3 in 7 years is still not very respectable, at least it brings us back into the realms of 50% of the football clubs in the country.

I am particularly incensed about two bits in the Guardian this Saturday (9/11/96). The first is part of an article talking about the stress of modern football management. The article itself is very good, containing a lot of sense about the causes of stress and good forms of stress management (particularly from Cary Cooper from UMIST – I was intrigued by his insight that Coppell set himself higher standards than the City fans in that he wanted promotion this season whereas the fans did not expect this of him. I think that this is quite true – is he a Blue?). The bit that I objected to was a checklist that they had of “dos” and “don’ts” of stress. All of these were very serious and sensible apart from the last “don’t” which was “Don’t manage Manchester City”. Since the article covered various clubs and other managerial stress casualties (like Dalglish) I could have understood “Don’t manage a football club”, but targeting it at City just seems gratuitous.

The other bit was in their little footballing funnies column with a comment that City had “courted more ridicule” by including a picture of Steve Coppell in their 1997 calendar. What are we supposed to do, leave it blank allowing people to stick on a picture of the current manager when the month (in this case September) rolls round? No doubt this was written by some southern, rag-supporting journos (oops, getting a little bitter there!) and it seems a real shame coming from a paper which used to be the “Manchester Guardian”.

I suppose that City can now bring a whole new perspective to the “manager of the month” competition.

Presuming that he is being honest about things and he hasn’t just left because he doesn’t think he can do the job, I have a great deal of sympathy for the condition Steve Coppell finds himself in. I have been through this stuff myself in a previous job which put me under unreasonable pressure, and I know how it feels to feel helpless and depressed about your situation. However, it taught me valuable lessons on how to handle things better in future which is just as well since I’m under far more stress in my current job!

Now, Steve has been through this once before when Palace were relegated. Either he didn’t learn the lessons to make himself tougher in the future or he was being a tad unrealistic about how it would be in the job. In this respect, I would agree with Francis Lee. Steve would not have become over-stressed in 32 days (if 6 matches was enough to over-stress him, it’s a bloody good job he’s not one of us long-suffering City fans!). The fissures that have opened up must have been identifiable before he took the job. Not only has he now done something silly to himself, but he has helped to pile more ridicule onto City. This has done neither of us any good.

Did anyone ever come up with an answer about John Foster’s recovery. He definitely looked a potential star last season and I’m sure he could add a bit of technique and ability to the back 4 (or is it 3 (or 5)?).

We would be completely mad to sell Lomas. He has already turned this deal down, so why is it coming back up again? Although I accept that most players now are just journeymen incentivised by money (step forward Nicky Summerbee…) I think that we should keep as many genuinely Blue players as possible. I know that Lomas is not a world class player but he has heart and spirit and (IMHO) could become a very, very good player with a bit of improvement via good coaching. If anyone would like to pass this opinion on to the club please don’t forget to add the dictionary definitions for “improvement” and “good coaching” since all our young players for the past 15 years have seemed to get worse when they get into the first team, not better (please could Jeff Whitley stay in the reserves for another two years until he is really good).

Andy Longshaw (

OPINION – 3000!

£3,000 a week pressure , I think I’ll risk it. Anybody else want to assist?

One day at a time sweet Jesus, not again! Aaaahhhh


Glen McLellan (


Being a City fan I am used to pressure from many directions and after recent happenings at Maine Road I foolishly started to believe that nothing could happen with respect to the Blues which would actually surprise me. Wrong!

Friday evening, relaxed, eating food, looking forward to drinking some beer and watching TFI Friday for some light-hearted banter I was knocked off my chair with dismay, shock and utter disgust that the piss-taking red head of a presenter (who is probably a Rag but I’m not sure) was claiming that Steve Coppell had resigned.

Quickly switching to the Beeb and summoning with trepidation page 302 on teletext confirmed the words of Mr Evans. I read through once, then read it again, then switched to ITV and read through their version twice and then it began. “Pressure, pressure, he doesn’t have a clue what pressure is” I ranted, “Pressure is being on the streets, unable to feed your family, losing your home not working for a couple of weeks in a tough job”. And on I went for most of the evening, much to the disgust of my totally uninterested wife who seemed to completely miss the point.

Sympathy, oh no you don’t. Pressure is felt by all at City in these difficult times and sympathy must be reserved for those of us who can’t just walk away because we live and love the club and cannot simply switch off what we believe and go on holiday to recover. We have all had times of despair where we could have run away and hid for a few years and took some pills to convert us to the easy life of supporting a club who simply won their matches easily and collected lots of silverware, but we don’t.

Rant over, thanks for listening. We will do the business this season or next and haul ourselves back to sanity.

P.S. Worrying “Kinky to quit City” exclusive in the News of the World on Sunday stating that the little fella claimed to have a great relationship with Coppell and that this was the final straw and he would do anything to get away from City and didn’t want to be in the team any more. Hope this was Fleet Street rubbish but it sounds all too real for me.

Adrian Coe (


Once again, we get dropped right in it. Being a true Blue, I wanted to believe that Coppell would do right by the club and get it back on its feet. Once again, I’ve been duped into believing that someone wanted to do right by City. He was ill when he took the job on. He cites other factors, such as not having enough backroom support i.e. money etc – bulls**t – he wasn’t man enough for the job and I’m sorry that I thought he was thirty odd days ago. I now despair. Phil Neal is ‘acting manager’. He couldn’t act to save his life. I’m quite prepared to give up, but having been a City fan for so long, I can’t. I’m going to Portsmouth on Saturday, cos I still love the club to death. I think the time has now come to make a clean sweep and FHL should step aside and stop trying to stuff himself into shirts that are two sizes too small and stop repeating himself (BBC Grandstand 9.11.96). I don’t know what the answers are.

I don’t think there are any. We are now totally reliant on the players playing well enough to convince someone that we are worth managing. If only this were a realistic thought. Please, please, please give us something to make us think we have a future. I have nothing more to add – I’m gobsmacked.

Alison Prior (


I heard the news, firstly from Paul Burton (the Alty footie team manager) and then Christine Haynes; at first I thought it was some horrible joke, but it became clear that this was no joke and SC had left due to ill health. However, the news was at least partially relieved by me enjoying an afternoon of quaffing ales at the UMIST Beer Festival, how very apt that the news broke on that day! So here we are, back as the laughing stock of the football world, managerless (until Neal’s official appointment), getting financially worse and with no apparent light at the end of the tunnel; just how much longer are we to suffer and more importantly just how much longer are the fans gonna stick by the club?

Huhhhh, sigh, just what else can go wrong, relegation to the 2nd division would just about sum up how pitiful things at the Academy of Comedy have gone.

So here we are with another cross to bear, along with everything else we’ve had to endure, but yet we still have this ability to laugh at ourselves. So c’mon smile through the troubles, it’s not (quite) the end of the world.

A deflated Blue, Martin Ford (


Otherwise known as “Situation normal, all ***** up’. Maybe this should go on the club crest? Don’t know what to say about Coppell’s resignation, except that it’s a crying shame. I really thought he would be the one to sort the club out, even if it did – as surely it must – take a number of years. Let’s hope he gets himself sorted out, as I have a lot of time for him.

It’s got so bad that this morning, while having a cup of tea in bed and half listening to Radio 5, I heard the words “Manchester City”, and thought “oh no – what now?” – only to realise it was a traffic report concerning a route thought Manchester city centre. Gotta laugh, otherwise …

For those of us unfortunate to attend the Swindon game, I was down at Ashton Gate yesterday to watch Bristol City play Millwall (incidentally, the quality of the football was superior to that at Swindon, despite …), and who should the referee be but Mr S.J.Baines who made such a cock-up of the Swindon game. He did his best to mess this game up, but fortunately, as neither side were out to damage each other, he managed only to ignore a few handballs and obvious fouls. Mind you, he nearly ignored a professional foul near the end of the game, and only booked the culprit after a long chat with the linesman who flagged it. Keep it up, Mr Baines.

My apologies to those on the list who first hear of the resignation from Mcivta via me … I felt it was better than hearing it from whatever other source. To whoever it was who replied directly to me, and suggested that Mcivta should take over the management of the team … well, the thought crossed my mind too – I am sure that between us we could pick a team of 2 or 3 who could do a better job – even with no money – than has been done in the past 18 months.

Oh God …

Jeremy Poynton (


The stress is getting to him. Why did he accept the job? He must have known it would be stressful or he’s not the intelligent man everyone said he was. I feel he’s let the club, players and the fans down. He makes me so angry, I just felt gutted, disappointed in him. Who the hell will we get now? We need stability – as all the press gleefully point out Neal will be our 9th manager in 10 years. If he proves any good as a caretaker I think we should appoint him just for the stability as much as anything else. Coppell may have a valid reason and be very ill but it all sounds a bit pathetic to me. His excuse sounds s***e and it’s possible that it is and this is his way of getting out of a crap job but I think it would be unfair to accuse him of that. Anyway, providing Kav gets a run now, Lomas isn’t sold, Clough does something or gets dropped and Phillips gets a game and we start winning consistently it’ll be ok. Oh well there may be trouble ahead (again); I think that’s all I’ve ever seen but you’ll support them anyway.

Thomas (


To add insult to injury, I have just received the 1996 Report and Accounts – courtesy of my 96 shares. They don’t make inspiring reading! The Chairman comments that, in spite of gate receipts increasing by 21%, operating profits were insufficient to cover interest charges. “It is imperative that the Club’s resources are sufficient to enable it to fulfill the aspirations that we all have and therefore your Board is exploring every serious possibility to raise the necessary funds… the account shows a considerable deficit on transfer fees. This has been incurred bringing quality players (name one) into the Club and is our intention to maintain and improve the calibre of the playing staff… I am delighted that we managed to secure the appointment of Steve Coppell as our Manager… Phil Neal’s appointment as Assistant Manager creates a strong team that given time I am confident will bring success to the Club.”

Comment seems superfluous!

Barry Taylor (


I don’t know why I became a Blue at is not ingrained into my otherwise quite normal DNA double helix. I was born in Ashton on Mersey which is only a cock stride from Stretford (which is birthplace of my mother). I grew up in the Sale/Altrincham.(Rag strongholds, using general election parlance there for a moment). And I went to a catholic school [again which is a Rag trait due to Sir Matt being a major left footer and insisted that the babes went to church, also the City side of the metropolis was frequented more by the residents of Didsbury which of course is the Jewish area of town). Also there is the Celtic/Utd and City/Rangers link which still needs some explaining.

In all indications I should have been a regular at the Swamp, but here lies the rub.

My old man is a Brummie (B’Ham City – also the Blues). But to be quite honest my first affiliations came when I was at primary school and the choice was to join one of two rival gangs; not very politically correct but you had to join Sean Reilly’s “The Paddys” or Lioni Polli’s “The Wops”. Each break and dinner break the rival gangs played against each other with games such as Rallio, British Bulldog (the nuances of these games escape me) and Murderball (it was 1970 and was a forerunner to James Caan’s Rollerball). The racial tension as six year old between these rival factions was high but they were both Utd fans. Me and my mate Joe Timmons decided that we did not want to get injured during these ‘games’ and being neither Italian or Irish and just to be totally awkward we would become, you guessed it, City fans, with scarves, kit bags, the works.

Reilly and Poli both took their turn on me and Joe and kicked the c**p out of us right up to the eleven plus exam but we never wavered.

I still remember Reilly saying “Shout out United are Ace City are Crap, otherwise I will pin you down and spit on you” – 1 pint of spit, two gallons of bog flush water and several beatings we were still Blues. Now I understand “No Surrender” but in those days it was only spit, bruises and bog water.

I remeber the Marsh, Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Corrigan and the comedy and laughter that went with those days at Maine Road. The smart a**e comments around the ground from all the wags. Jewish wit is still one of the funniest around – Ben Elton, David Baddiel are cases in point.

Senior school was less traumatic – the Kippax was my home, enter the arena of Barnes (the flashing blade down the wing). Tueart and the overhead (sounds like a band that John Peel would have played) in those days of punkish nostalgia. Even Trevor Francis and his head butting display. All viewed with my cynical eye from the far side of the pitch.

At the age of 17 I went to the Cup Final replay – even when we went 2-1 up Spurs had so much in them, our day was the Saturday; if we didn’t do it then we were not going to do it at all – poor old Hutch sadly immortalised as an orange question in trivial persuit.

College came next, Nottingham Poly – close enough to come home for the odd game, far enough away to get up to intense mischief. Why Nottingham? I could say that the course suited my individual needs in terms of practical, theoretical electronics engineering and gave a year out industrial release but the real reason is that as a cynical, obnoxious, spotty faced City fan – I liked the idea of a town having a 5 to 1 girl to boy ratio. And the odds of getting a jump shortened dramatically. Well I had to find entertainment from somewhere; City were in Div 2, Forest were in the 1st and County in the 3rd.

Forest were an entertaining side in those days and the best memory was when Celtic came down and brought a batallion of supporters on the same week Scargill was in town trying to get the Notts miners to strike. Drinking and fighting and shouting was the order of the day.

Why do I remember college as an alcoholic daze with a bit of revision thrown in and an overdraft and a collection of Smiths singles? “Hang the Chairman, Hang the Chairman, Hang the Chairman”, as we sang at the Dell one Saturday – never caught on at the Kippax although I did try a couple of times.

USA for a year, got a job looking for oil in the Gulf of Mexico; based in Houston, Texas I supported the Oilers – they played in sky blue and were crap so I was at home at the Astrodome – only difference was the 80,000 seated stadium in air conditioned luxury with waitress service.

London for 5 years – great place to live, it takes six months to get used to cockneys and vice versa; after that good people. They are just not immediately friendly (by and large) – suspicious big city syndrome I guess. Got to see all the grounds in London, even the Den (twice). Home to the Academy at least once a month, especially the 5-1 day which was definitely better than a jump.

Now I live in Cayman where ESPN gives us a live game every Monday and the Anik 1 Canadian satellite gives us a live game every Saturday from the Premier League. Now we are in Div 1 I rely totally on the McVittee pages to liven my day and glad to hear the sarcasm, cynicism and light hearted banter is still the order of the day.

That was always the hallmark of going to away games with City, “which bar do we go to in Bournemouth”, the inflatables, “I bet 5 quid we stop at the Shepperton service station”. Nothing was taken seriously. Our lives were/are richer than what goes on on the field of play.

Present feelings about the team: we are getting kicked to pieces by the thugs in the division judging by the reports in Electronic Telegraph and mcivta. We may have to face the inevitability of selling Gio. I can just see him getting a little bout of flu two days before the 3rd Round of the Cup just so he cannot play and therefore be cup tied – sell him at the max we can get and buy some players who can deal with the rough conditions. A promotion team may be different to a Premier team. I do not think the building can be done in this division.

Then again opinions are like a**eholes. Everyone has one.

Phil Lines (


Why is a taxi better than Man Utd?
A Taxi will only let 4 in!

Colin Harris (


Steve Coppell left City for a more secure and less stressful job – PE teacher at Manton School.

John Colburn (


Full-time score for Sunday, November 10 1996


Full-time scores for Saturday, November 9 1996


Full-time score for Friday, November 8 1996


Up to and including Sunday, November 10 1996

Team                  Played   Won  Drawn Lost     For Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        16     11     4     1      37    20        37
Crystal Palace          17      9     6     2      39    13        33
Norwich City            16      9     4     3      25    14        31
Barnsley                15      7     6     2      27    18        27
Wolverhampton Wanderers 17      7     5     5      22    17        26
Sheffield United        14      7     4     3      29    16        25
Tranmere Rovers         17      7     4     6      25    20        25
Swindon Town            16      7     2     7      24    19        23
Stoke City              15      6     5     4      22    26        23
Port Vale               18      5     8     5      17    20        23
Oxford United           16      6     4     6      20    13        22
Queens Park Rangers     18      5     7     6      20    24        22
Huddersfield Town       16      5     5     6      20    24        20
Portsmouth              18      5     5     8      20    24        20
West Bromwich Albion    16      4     8     4      19    23        20
Southend United         18      4     8     6      18    28        20
Ipswich Town            17      4     7     6      21    24        19
MANCHESTER CITY         15      6     1     8      16    21        19
Reading                 16      5     3     8      19    27        18
Birmingham City         14      4     5     5      15    17        17
Charlton Athletic       14      5     2     7      14    21        17
Oldham Athletic         18      3     6     9      19    23        15
Bradford City           18      3     5    10      14    32        14
Grimsby Town            17      3     4    10      18    36        13

Russell (
With thanks to Soccernet


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

Thanks to Gary, Phil, Russ, Mike, Fred, Martin (x2), Sean, Thomas (x2),Struan, Colin, Tricia, Andy (x2), Richard, Kev, Paul (x2), Clive, The Mole,John (x2), Claude, Leo, Tony, Glen, Alison, Jeremy, Steve & Barry.

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 #245