Newsletter #258

A couple of match reports – just what you all needed to cheer you up after the Xmas binge! I trust that you’ll all be greatly comforted by the fact that the Christmas spirit failed to materialise at Maine Road, the only gifts being to the opposition, who were almost – but not quite – too inept to capitalise on them! There’s a guide to the Brentford game together with ticket news, some news of transfer targets, some forthright opinion and a Norwegian Why Blue.

I still can’t believe that we are nearly at the bottom of Division 1 and we got in excess of 30,000 loyal fans, and what do we get? I have to wonder how long it can go on like this – there was another demonstration, and Neal has told the club that they need to sort out the managerial position within 48 hours.

Next game, Barnsley away, Saturday 28th December 1996


MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORT VALE, Thursday 26th December 1996

Somehow the thought of a curry, some fresh air and decent football seemed compelling after the usual Christmas indulgence; unfortunately, only the first two became reality! After an excellent curry in Rusholme, we made our way to the Old Abbey for a few jars before the game and bumped into 2 MCIVTAers, one from LA (Helen) and one from Norway (Geir). Such dedication to the cause probably signals an urgent need for medication!

My first disappointment of the day was the absence of the guy who sells second-hand footie books outside the Kippax, being in ossession of a few fivers, courtesy of those dear old aunts who still think I’m 10 years old! My second disappointent was watching the team run out; Rösler and Summerbee were still – yes still – in the side; Brown was also in and the unfortunate Heaney was out – due to a failed fitness test. Heaney’s absence meant, of course, that we were going to have absolutely zero width. The ground seemed at capacity even though the tannoy announced it to be just over 30,000, including what looked like a capacity of travelling Vale fans.

The match started with Vale attacking almost continually; the pressure was only relieved by a break in which Gio (I think) set up Rösler whose good-ish header was well saved by the goalie. Other than this, Vale pinned us in our own half but without actually making a single decent chance to speak of. City, as usual, sat with 8 men in front of their own penalty area and 2 up front – result, a huge gap in midfield, ably filled by 5 men from Port Vale. An inevitable consequence of this was that every clearance fell to an opposition player. Fortunately, Vale had no idea what to do with this possession; it seems no one has told them that we are totally incapable of defending high balls, whether from crosses, punts, corners or set pieces.

At the other end, Summerbee actually got a couple of dangerous looking crosses in which we failed to capitalise on. The best chance however, fell to Symons who had an unchallenged header from a corner but he sent it sailing 5 feet over.

The game rolled by at a pedestrain pace and it looked like no one would ever score. Vale did have a break which looked ominous but the day was saved by excellent goalkeeping from Margetson and a timely last ditch tackle from Brightwell. However, just when it looked like we would go in level, Vale scored. Again City’s inability to defend a corner undid them; a medium high ball came in, no one cleared, Margetson saved, the ball came in again, it was cleared off the line (from behind more like!) and finally it was headed in. It was very scrappy but perfectly illustrated our vulnerability. However, they are obviously slow to learn down near Stoke, so despite the obvious invitation to score through the simple expediency of a high ball into our box, Vale continued to play it on the ground – daft buggers!

The team left the pitch to a chorus of boos and we all trooped off for a natter, same old natter we have every match, these days! The second half started much more brightly with City actually looking like they cared. The ref was still blowly for innocuous pulls then failing miserably when Vale defenders sliced right through the back of Dickov. City made several chances, highlights were two good saves, one from Dickov and another a good shot from a set piece (can this be true!) from Summerbee. In fact, there was another set piece in the first half which had obviously been rehearsed!

Rodger was substituted with an injury after about 65 minutes (Whitley) and Summerbee came off for Creaney after a further 10 minutes (much applause for the latter and much booing for the former). Rösler came off with 10 minutes to go, replaced by Kavelashvili. All was to no avail, despite several reasonable chances and no threat whatsoever from Vale, we failed to equalise.

Final score: City 0 Vale 1

There was much booing as the team left the field and GMR afterwards reported that there had been a sitdown demonstration outside the Maine Stand. This was broken up by mounted police and it was reported that there had been some injuries. There was also much adverse comment (on GMR) about Lee’s absence at this critical time. The best call came from a Vale fan who said he was amazed by the support we got but said that our players just had no fight; in particular, he singled out Rösler and Summerbee. Nice to see that a Port Vale supporter could pick these two out after only a single game, wonder if he’s thought about a career in management? Neal was interviewed and as usual, came across as someone to respect but who is getting precious little of it from the board. He has once again made an appeal to get decisions made – he sounded to me like he was resigned to Clark coming in.


Margetson: 7 Played well, looks confident and had no chance with the goal, he has to be able to rely on his defenders to clear corners like that.
Rodger: 5 Very average and will not be playing for City again according to Neal. However, as he’s a midfielder and has been played almost exclusively at left back, you have to wonder if he was given a fair chance?
McGoldrick: 5 He just isn’t a right back is he? He needs to play in-field and at the moment his confidence is draining away game by game. His passing was very poor.
Symons: 6 Quite solid but he’s too small for many of the big first division forwards; at least when he’s our biggest central defender!
Brightwell: 6 Played well but wasn’t at all tested by high balls which he has no chance of winning.
Brown: 4 Almost totally anonymous, apart from an atrocious studs up challenge which he was lucky to only see yellow for.
Lomas: 5 Ran around a lot but has no vision and is a hopeless passer of the ball.
Summerbee: 6 Got a few good crosses in – only because the defender hadn’t heard that he always goes down the outside – but invariably looked like he couldn’t have cared less. Dickov had a real go at him for failing to run into space. Surely his days are numbered?
Gio: 5 Man-marked out of the game, easily the worst performance I’ve seen from him. I’m beginning to wonder if it would be better all round if we sold him as he’s a liability in a weak midfield like ours, he needs to play in a strong, grafting midfield.
Dickov: 7 Ran his heart out and made chances by pressuring people, he will be better when he gets a decent partner.
Rösler: 6 Looked marginally better than of late but still treated us to his extensive repertoire of fall overs and referee exhortations.
Whitley: 8 He is a quality player and chances were immediately created when he came on.
Creaney: 5 He wasn’t on long enough to do anything.
Kave: Ditto.

To sum up, we desperately need stability and a permanent manager who can sort this rabble out. At the moment there is little pride, no passion and no commitment – several players need to be jettisoned.



MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORT VALE, Thursday 26th December 1996

McGoldrick      Symons          Brightwell      Rodger (Whitley)
Summerbee (Creaney)         Lomas               Brown
                Dickov          Rösler (Kavelashvili)

Let us not kid ourselves… we are an exceedingly poor team at the moment. Confidence and team spirit are totally lacking from our displays this match, this month and this season.

It is a bit worrying when Gerry Creaney comes on to a hero’s welcome – this man was a laughing stock last season!

In sub-zero conditions a fairly average but competent Vale side met a truly lacklustre City team. Incredibly over 30,000 turned up – 2,000 were Vale fans which means 28,000 City fans made the effort despite the dreadful results / displays / shenanigans of the last couple of months… stunning loyalty.

Unfortunately the reward for loyalty wasn’t too obvious from the game.

Their goal just before half time was a scrappy affair – the ball seemed to ricochet around City’s box before being nodded in by some Vale player or other (who cares who?!).

City did not have the fight or ability to break down their defence. Rösler had a free header saved after about 25 minutes and I think it was Symons who also had a good header go past the post. That was about it in the first half – not a great game.

The second half was all City but despite nearly all the possession, they never really looked like scoring. A good shot from Summerbee and a couple of minor scrambles were all City could muster to leave a very cold crowd very disappointed.

Margetson 6 Not much to do – didn’t seem to have much chance with the goal. He should work on his distribution.
McGoldrick 4 Looked great on his début… didn’t today!
Rodger 5 Picked up an injury and is apparently on his way back to Palace as his loan spell is up. I thought he was okay really (well compared to Frontzeck anyway).
Brightwell 7 Arguably our best player – seems much more at home at the centre of defence than at full-back.
Symons 5 The burden of leadership is probably weighing very heavy on him at the moment. It can’t be easy having all this s**t in your first year of captaincy.
Summerbee 4 He was booed off when he was replaced. Didn’t look very good although he is a great crosser of the ball given time to line himself up (which he doesn’t often get).
Lomas 5 Always tries, despite not being particularly skilful. Needs an experienced dog of war beside him.
Brown 7 Along with Whitley and Brightwell, Brown seemed to be bothered about wearing the shirt and looked like he wanted to win.
Kinkladze 4 Anonymous – Vale man-marked him out of it completely – apparently Oldham did this in the second half last Saturday. Worrying because he is the only creative spark in the side.
Dickov 6 Worked hard as usual which endears him to the crowd but doesn’t seem to create much.
Rösler 4 As he said, he’s much too good for this division… well you’ll be on your way then Mr Rösler – Ta-ra then. Maybe he’ll get better when Beagrie returns?
Whitley 7 As Brown – he battled and did at least attempt some forward play.
Creaney 4 !?
Kavelashvili 4 Can’t remember him touching the ball so I suppose 4 is a bit of a high score really. Ran up and down the touchline well though!

Just a few points

  • The players who seem to care came through City’s youth policy.
  • We need a manager.
  • Francis Lee is in the Bahamas for 3 weeks.
  • Beagrie and Kernaghan are on their way back.
  • What has happened to Foster and Phillips?
  • Phil Neal was interviewed after the Port Vale débâcle and he saidhe has spoken to “the powers that be” within the last 48 hours and demandedto know whether he is going to get the job or if someone else is coming in.Let’s hope for the latter as the players obviously don’t want him.
  • Moonchester – s***e or what!?
  • We’ve seen off Clough, Frontzeck, Immel and Wassall and we’re stillcrap. It can’t all be Summerbee and Creaney… can it?

Matt Cadman (


Alan Kernaghan and Peter Beagrie have both targetted the reserve game at Barnsley on 8th January for their comebacks after long spells out with injuries. On Monday night City’s inexperienced second string beat Tranmere, a side two divisions higher in the Pontins League, in the first game of the Pontins League Cup. Michael Brown headed the winner from Ray Kelly’s cross. However, Rae Ingram has picked up a nasty facial injury which will mean having to have his nose rebuilt and complete rest for three weeks.

Paul Howarth (


City are rumoured to have offered Nigel Clough plus £1,000,000 to Nottingham Forest for defender Steve Chettle and midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland. I wonder if this is any indication that Frank Clark is set to take over at City in the New Year?

Simon Rodger’s injury picked up against Port Vale means that his loan period will not be extended into a third month, as he would be unlikely to be fit to play in any games during that period.

At a post-match demonstration following the Boxing Day game, one person was arrested for a public order offence and two people were injured as police used horses to break up a sit-down protest.

Phil Neal has had talks with “the powers that be” urging them to make a decision as to who will manage the club for the rest of the season. He says the delay is costing the club dearly and I have to agree with him.

The Mole


Season’s Greetings from St. Lucia

Is Franny down here somewhere? I am a bit upset because he hasn’t called in to chew the fat over a rum and coke yet. We did have a Mr. Lee staying at my Hotel last week but he turned out to be a Chinaman!

I am glad to hear that the choice of the next manager has been taken out of Franny’s hands after his recent past record for choosing non-starters!

Also glad to see that players like Rösler who blab to the press are being spanked in the pocket rather than on the bottom in front of a gallery of journalists.

Have a great Christmas and enjoy the holiday fixtures if humanely possible.

Clive Tysoe – The Caribbean Blue (


Cup Tie Info: City vs. Brentford, January 4th

The allocation from Brentford was around 2,500, so sadly they are unlikely to reach open sale. If there are any for open sale they’ll be offered from 9-30 am on New Year’s Eve. All the £15 seats are sold. There are an extemely limited number of £14 seats left, but the word is they’re naff and best avoided. The majority are standing tickets priced £10 and there are concessions (£6).

Ground info: Brentford (Griffin Park)

Address: Griffin Park, Braemar Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0NT
Main Office/Ticket Office: 0181-847-2511
Club Call: 0891-121-108

Griffin Park is famous for being the only ground in Britain with a pub on each corner – though visiting supporters may remember it best for the brilliant acoustics in the away end. An added bonus is that the ground is clearly visible – and accessible – from the M4. Griffin Park is in a residential area of West London, bordered on three sides by terraced housing. Thankfully there are few parking restrictions though latecomers may have to hunt quite far afield for a place.


By car from the North (A1M)

M25 to the North Circular Road A406, see London Road Guide. Take right hand lanes for A406 over fly-over. After 5 miles at Hanger Lane (junction with the A40) bear left, keeping on North Circular (s/p North Circular A406, The West A4, M40) straight on for 1.9 miles to Chiswick Roundabout (junction with A4/M4). Two alternative routes to Griffin Park from here.

  1. Follow signs for South Circular Road A205, Kew Bridge. In 0.3 miles,where road divides go straight on (i.e, not over Kew Bridge) into Kew BridgeRoad, passing Kew Steam Museum on RHS. After 0.5 miles, just after Red Lionpub, turn right at traffic lights into Ealing Road, which runs past GriffinPark.
  2. Follow signs for The West, Heathrow, M4, A4 (passing Esso garage on LHS)onto A4. the road runs along underneath the raised section of the M4. Atroundabout, after 2 miles, turn left (s/p Brentford) into Ealing Road, orgo straight on for Duke of York pub.

From North (M1)

Continue on M1 to end of motorway. Follow signs for A406 North Circular Road West, Heathrow (i.e, right at first roundabout, straight on at the 2nd) onto the North Circular. Then as from North A1M.

From West (from Junction of M4 with M25)

Exit M4 after 8.4 miles (s/p M1 The North, A406 North Circular Road, A205 South Circular Road). Slip road leads onto the A4 running parallel underneath the M4 fly-over. The roundabout after 0.3 miles is the Chiswick roundabout. then as from North A1M.

Directions from South (From Kew Bridge)

Over the bridge and after 2 miles, at traffic lights opposite Express Tavern turn left (s/p Brentford, Syon Park, Hounslow) into Kew Bridge Road. then as from North A1M.

From Railway Station:

BR trains run from Waterloo to Brentford Station, whch is about 0.3 miles from Griffin Park. From station, go up to main road (Manor Road) and turn left. Second left into Windmill Road and then immediately right into Clifden Road (s/p Methodist Church). Right at T-junction to the away turnstiles.

From Underground: Gunnersbury (District Line)

1.4 miles to ground. By foot, turn left out of station, along Chiswick High Road to the Chiswick roundabout. Then as car dirctions from North. By bus, Nos 237 or 267.

South Ealing (Piccadilly Line)

By foot: Turn right out of staion into South Ealing Road. Past Penny Flyer pub on RHS after 0.4 miles. After a further 0.3 miles straight on at roundabout (s/p Brentford A315, Kew Bridge A205) under M4. Turn right by New Inn pub after 0.1 miles, and next left into Brook Road for away turnstiles. By Bus, No 65.

By bus: Bus numbers 65, 237, 267 and E2 run to the ground.

Parking: It’s mainly street parking and generally not too much of a problem. However, late arrivals could try Somerset Road and The Butts … to get there from Chiswick Roundabout, follow M4 Signs (as from the North) but continue straight on instead of turning left into Ealing Road. After 0.4 miles, turn left at traffic lights (s/p Brentford and Brentford Station) into Manor Road, Somerset Road is on the RHS after 0.3 miles.

Pub Guide: The New Inn is one of the four pubs on the corner of Griffin Park and is the only one that always admits visiting supporters (Whitbread Charringtons). Others include: World Famous John Bull – 590 Chiswick Road (opposite Gunnersbury tube station) Big, football friendly boozer, 2 pool-tables, table football, darts open 11:00 am until midnight), Waggon and Horses – Kew Bridge Road, The Flower and Firkin, Kew Gardens Station.

Mark Burgess (


I have supported City since January 1967 so I am coming up to my 30th anniversary. A relative newcomer compared to some True Blues. Anyway through all those years we long suffering fans have seen some pretty poor stuff. I think we keep coming back for more, not because we believe that we will see the likes of Rod Marsh or Colin Bell again. at least not in foreseeable future but because Man City is our home. We all feel the joy (what? Did I say that?) and the pain together. We are one big and very comfortable family.

Like all this years correspondents, I have never known things to be so bad at Maine Road. At least we won at the match I was able to attend this year, against Birmingham, 1-0. Perhaps I should fly over more often? Keep the faith though. I believe in Francis Lee and am sure that with the new money, and a good management appointment; hope it’s Howard; we will be OK.

Any City fans in the Ft Lauderdale area please get in touch.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the family of Blues.

Ashley, have a pint in the Roebuck for me!

Phil Calderbank (


  1. FHL after taking stock of his by now unenviable position as figureheadchairman steps down but retains a position on the board.
  2. Boler’s nominee becomes City chairman and struggles to manage the opposingcliques on the club’s board.
  3. City finally get a permanent manager but the injection of cash into theclub is too late to do anything more than provide a crisis lifeline asmediocre players are brought in to shore up the club’s ever-deterioratingleague position.
  4. City mange to stay in the 1st division only because there are more clubswho are actually worse than they are.

New year wish list!

  1. Dump Rösler – does anyone believe we are going to get £2 million for himafter his woeful stats this season?
  2. Sell Kinkladze before we have to settle for a firesale price. We are in astruggle for existence and as much as I hate to say this Gio is not a playersuited to the dogfights we will be in for the rest of the year. Also it mustbe pretty obvious to everyone by now that we are not going to be promoted -give him what he wants and use the cash to rebuild.Use the money gained from the above two trades to rebuild the youth squad.City cannot compete with the astronomical fees required today. We have startertalent in the youth ranks (Whitley, Brown, Phillips etc.) – invest morehere.
  3. Rebuild the 1st team squad around Lomas, Whitley, Symons and Dickov. Bringin (buy) sound, solid performers to consolidate our position until ouryouthful talent is ready.
  4. Undo the damage of many years of nepotism in the backroom and field leveljobs. Great players and their offspring don’t necessarily do that well inother jobs. We should question whether the sentimental value of having a staffwhich includes Book, Bell, Clay etc. is in our best interests. If theseindividuals are the best there are at their jobs – great! If not it may betime to suggest to them that the gravy train is coming into a station and it’stime for them to get off.
  5. A club in our position cannot afford to carry 42 professional players. It’stime to cancel a few contracts. It may encourage the others to reassess theirpositions within the club. A club like ours should have no more than 26 pro’son staff. Let’s see the axe – no wonder we don’t make an operating profit withall the deadwood.
  6. When we do go into the transfer market – let’s try to buy for the future -buying to fill immediate needs gave Frontzeck et al. Let us not repeat thosemistakes.

Question: Are our players more injury prone than those on other clubs? Edghill, Beagrie, Foster, Kernaghan, etc. – or are they less fit? I believe our players are not as fit as other teams we have seen this year. I also believe that our players are at a low ebb motivationally. No big surprise there but it needs to be turned around quickly. Look at Coventry – they now have a leader they believe in and are playing well. Our players deserve nothing less. We supporters deserve nothing less.

Best wishes to all in the New Year

Mike Edwards (


Another massive crowd of loyal Blues was rewarded by a disgraceful performance – the only possible exeptions being Rösler (who worked hard with little support) and Brightwell who did well to cover the inadequacies of Symons and McGoldrick. Our Chairman’s commitment to the cause was such that he couldn’t even be bothered to turn up. Boler promised us a strengthening of management and it is high time he showed he is a man of his word by getting rid of Lee and Neal now before things get any worse.

As for the band in the North Stand, the people involved deserve credit for trying to improve the atmosphere but sadly they only succeeded in making an awful racket which brought angry responses from the people sitting nearby.

Gareth Jones, North Yorks (


It’s not often I manage to travel North to see City play but I made the journey to see City at Oldham and was treated to yet another typical City performance.

1st half: City were reasonable but let’s be honest, not that good, Oldham were unlucky to be behind as the teams went in.

2nd half was the City of old – crap – no commitment and the typical lack of skill.

I’ve supported City since 1967 and my heroes were Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Young, Corrigan, Doyle, Booth and Tueart. But to be honest I like many City fans have been living in the past for far too long. The team over the last 5 or 6 years has simply not been up to it. We are not a First Division team, let alone a Premier team.

Lee came in on a wave of hysteria promising everything. But what has he actually done – the food is better, the new Kippax, City shop (did anyone go into Oldham’s? I did and it’s 1000 times better than ours). He promised to sort us out financially and give us some success but so far the debts are crippling us and the team is at its lowest ebb in living memory. We are proud of our loyalty and still continue to support the boys no matter how bad they are; this is wearing a little thin though as we continue to put in better performances on the terraces than on the pitch.

Rösler has done nothing for 1.5 years, Summerbee is ineffective and Clough thankfully has gone to not play for Nottingham Forest for at least a month. Kinkladze is the one shining star of the team but should he be in the team? He is a 5 minute player, not a 90 minute player and his flashes of genius would be better seen on a larger stage than with the bunch of no hopers we have. Kave is still not being played, Dickov is a trier who like McGoldrick and Lomas deserve to be in the team on effort. But Dickov is a midget compared to most of the opposition he has to play against. Phillips has disappeared, Symons is not a captain (give the job to Eddie) and the rest of the team with the exception of Whitley might as well not bother changing let alone run (saunter) out onto the pitch.

The search for new management is a joke – the latest talk is of Kidd and Bruce as the dream team. Bruce! this guy is universally hated by the fans and no decontamination period at Birmingham will erase the Rag that he is. Kidd is an ex-City player who I personally liked but he has turned us down so at least they will not be coming to Maine Road. Wilkinson or Clarke seem to be the other choices – Wilkinson sold Cantona to the Rags and Clarke has made some inspired purchases (not) so both should fit in well at the Academy of Comedy.

The way things are looking we will be in Division 2 this time next year, we do not deserve to be where we are on the current showing, so what is the cure? The answer is simple: Money, and lots of it. We need to build a team from the defence up, get rid of Dibble, buy a decent goalkeeper, buy 2 giants to strengthen the defence, sell Kinkladze, buy a midfield mountain, sell Rösler and buy a striker with height (why did we sell Quinn when he did so well in pre-season matches?). Secondly, sell Summerbee and get rid of some of the old players still hanging around the club (Summerbee senior – what does he do anyway, Book – he must be 90 now and his coaching ability is suspect, Stepney – he was a crap goalie; if we must have a goalkeeping coach bring in Corrigan who was decent). Thirdly ‘Lee out’ – he has done nothing and is not interested enough to stay in the country during the Christmas period. Welcome Boler and beg him to splash out on some decent first division players, let’s draw a few games and build confidence and pride, then move on from there to build a team. For any players that may read this, a team is a group of people who work together to achieve a common aim (winning), not a bunch of people whose purpose is to pick up a huge pay packet no matter what happens.

Frankly I’m bloody angry – we work hard to earn the money to buy tickets for the games we can get to and we deserve some effort in return. It is our wages that pay the players to live in Cheshire, go clubbing and drive their fancy cars. Their only qualification is a natural skill or a father who used to be a big name in football. And I am sick and tired of being served up the same old rubbish week after week.

Andy Birkin (


On the “They Think It’s All Over – Christmas Special” broadcast on BBC1 (23/12/96), resident comic Lee Hurst came out with this gag…

Commenting on a sketch involving a crowd of Grimsby fans waving plastic haddocks in the air, Lee said…

“Well you know at City… they’re waving 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish in the air… ‘cos let’s face it, they need a bloody miracle there, don’t they!

On which note, I’ll take this opportunity to thank all associated with the MCIVTA, especially Ashley, Linda, Adam, Stephen and all who have contributed to its success to date. I wish yous all a very happy Christmas and an even better 1997 (blimey… cheaper than sending a Christmas card to you all, ain’t it?).

Tair M Bashir (


Has it always been, or is this a new idea? Since when has scoring more goals, overridden the goals difference in the league table? I’ve always been convinced that the format for the positions in a league table was: Points, goal difference then goals scored.

But now it seems like points, goals scored and then goal difference.

Surely something’s going wrong here, or has this directive come from above (UEFA)? However, I do remember Czech Republic knocking Italy out of Euro 96 even though they had a inferior goal difference, because they’d beaten Italy in their group match.

Barnsley                23     12     8     3      42    26 +16    44
Bolton Wanderers        24     11    10     3      48    34 +14    43
Sheffield United        24     12     6     6      40    25 +15    42
Crystal Palace          24     10     9     5      48    24 +24    39
Wolverhampton Wanderers 23     10     6     7      31    22 +9     36
Oxford United           24      9     7     8      34    25 +9     34
Queens Park Rangers     24      9     7     8      31    29 +2     34
Stoke City              22      9     7     6      30    31 +1     34
Port Vale               24      8    10     6      28    24 +4     34*
Norwich City            23      9     6     8      30    33 -3     33
Birmingham City         23      8     9     6      24    22 +2     33*
Tranmere Rovers         24      9     5    10      31    31 0      32
Swindon Town            24      9     3    12      34    32 +2     30
Ipswich Town            24      7     9     8      30    34 -4     30
Portsmouth              24      8     6    10      28    30 -2     30
West Bromwich Albion    23      6    11     6      36    37 -1     29
Charlton Athletic       23      9     2    12      24    33 -9     29
Huddersfield Town       24      7     7    10      27    33 -6     28
Reading                 24      7     7    10      25    33 -8     28
MANCHESTER CITY         23      8     2    13      27    37 -10    26
Oldham Athletic         24      6     8    10      26    29 -3     26*
Southend United         24      5    10     9      24    41 -17    25
Bradford City           24      5     8    11      22    38 -16    23
Grimsby Town            23      5     7    11      25    42 -17    22

Look at this table, surely the teams I’ve marked with an ‘*’ should be above the team on the same points, or are we now seeing a form of attacking bias? In Norwich’s case, since when has a negative goals difference been a good thing, Brum City have a positive GD but are trailing behind?

It all seems so strange. Go on someone, tell me I’m not losing it, tell me my thoughts were correct and it’s not some evil plan that teams that score loads, while conceding as many are to be looked upon in favour?

Martin Ford (


Francis Lee is the culprit. In these troubled times he’s the one to blame. I am not talking about the present sorry state of affairs. No, he was the reason behind me supporting Man City. This short, stocky person, who looked like anything but a footballer, thrilled my heart to bits with his way of playing football.

It’s funny how little you remember when you look back at your own childhood. My first memory of Man City stems from the (televised) League Cup final against West Brom in 1970, I was 10 years old then. I joined the Man City Supporters’ Club here in Norway (I was actually one of the first to do so) in 1974 (or was it 75?). Then a year later City played a pre-season game in Fredrikstad. It was the first time I travelled on my own. Like most pre-season games the quality of play was poor. This summer I witnessed City’s warm-up games in Exeter and Plymouth (a feeling of déjà vu).The Supporters’ Club had arranged for us to meet the players after the match. I can remember speaking to Corrigan, Donachie, Hartford, Channon and Palmer. I’m not one for autographs or pictures but I do have one photograph from this meeting. I’m standing next to Willie Donachie, casually smiling.

This disease (supporting Man City) is getting worse. Since the early 80’s I have been over to England at least a dozen times. And the worrying aspect of this disease, it seems like the intervals between my journeys are getting shorter. Mind you, in my own masochistic way I take great pleasure from my pilgrimages to Manchester. You understand what I mean, when I give you my list of the 5 latest matches I’ve been to. Bolton, Man Utd. and Wimbledon at Easter and the Devon trip this summer (I was actually going to spend my holidays travelling Europe, but after a few days in Prague, I somehow ended up in Devon).

What is it that makes me come back time after time? It’s the atmosphere before, during and after the matches. I try to get to as many games as I can when I’m in England. I always watch City but I go to other games as well. I’ve been to around 60 football grounds in England and Scotland. It’s interesting to visit the grounds of the smaller clubs.

I’m coming over to Manchester this Christmas for City’s games against Port Vale, Barnsley, Birmingham and Brentford. Expectations have been higher I must admit.

Geir Ove Neset (


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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 #258