Newsletter #259

In time-hounoured tradition, the big news hit the fan with me away for the day! I’ve just had what can only be described as a ‘very interesting drive’ from Sheffield across the Peak District in appalling conditions – for those in the Caribbean, this involved something known as snow! So, apologies for the slightly late arrival of this issue. However, this is more than made up for by the news content. We have a new manager (Clark) and both Neal and Tony Book have departed. Although I don’t usually comment in the editorial, I do feel it important to mention both these latter individuals. It goes without saying that Book gave sterling service over the years and should depart with our best wishes; whatever many thought of Neal, IMHO he handled himself with great dignity in very difficult circumstances, he talked eminent sense when interviewed on the radio, and even in departing he had nothing but good to say of the fans and the club. I personally wish him all the best for his future career.

In addition to the news, we have 3 match reports (great support yet again), enlightenment concerning the goals scored rule, opinion, and another good Why Blue.

This one reaches 1224.

Happy New Year to you all – and let’s hope for the club as well!

Next game, Birmingham City away, Wednesday 1st January 1997


BARNSLEY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 28th December 1996

I awoke on a cold Saturday morning with the obligatory festive hangover. I lay in bed contemplating whether it was really worth getting out of bed to watch the shower that masquerades as City (this despite having paid for a ticket already). However, I decided to do so purely in anticipation of the atmosphere that would be generated by the City fans at Oakwell (I suspect this may be the only reason we continue to get such good away followings considering our disgraceful away record in recent times).

The talk on the train between me and my mates was interesting in that not one of our number even thought we had the remotest chances of winning – we were all simply going for the ‘crack’. We all agreed that our major problems were as follows: overall lack of pride and passion, overall lack of speed, no goalscoring threat, no width, no hard man in midfield, no commanding centre back, general lack of quality and fighting spirit. If we can come up with this list which I think most City fans would agree with than why can’t the current regime recognise them and do something about them?

The team line up gave me a sense of foreboding even before kick off. The lazy bastards known as Summerbee and Rösler were in, and Dickov was out! Now a couple of seasons ago when Rösler was actually a threat I may have understood this, but he is a waster now who is ‘too good for us’ so we should tell him to ***k off, and get people like Dickov in who have some heart.

Anyway, onto the match. We started off reasonably brightly and I was encouraged to see that tart Marcelle get hammered early on, though why we didn’t do it more often to get him out of the game is beyond me. Crooks gave him far too much space and it was inevitable that we would soon fall behind and we did. OK it wasn’t a penalty but we didn’t protest enough, and once it went in I think everyone realised it was game over. We never really threatened and I was certain 1 would lead to 2 and sure enough it did. The heads went down and the match was lost – simple as that. I know a number of people round me left when that second goal went in knowing full well there was no chance of a fightback (how can you fight back when there is no fight?).

The second half was a non-event apart from a decent volley and a good save from the Barnsley ‘keeper. I am now certain of the fact we will go down unless this side is changed, and if it means sacrificing the again anonymous Kinklazde then so be it.

The only good part of the day was the sizeable (4000?), vocal and generally brilliant City contingent. The People commented on Sunday that we could justifiably lay claim to being the best fans in the country. The atmosphere was cracking, especially in the second half with several lusty renditions of Blue Moon, We Never Win at Home and We Never Win Away and various others. However, the best one of the lot was the ‘Oh I’d rather be in Barnsley than Barbados’. Brilliant fans, absolutely s**t team who in no way deserve us. As I said earlier, the only reason I still travel away is because of the fans and most definitely not because of the team (which would drive any football fan away).

Let’s hope Frank Clark is given some money to rebuild the side and also gets rid of some of the lazy overpaid ****ers currently at Maine Road – otherwise get ready for Stockport next season without a doubt.

Forever Blue (despite the fact the only team to have lost more games in all four of the leagues is Brighton).



BARNSLEY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 28th December 1996

“I’d rather be in Barnsley than Barbados”

What is it about City that makes 6,000 of us cross the snow-covered Pennines and also attracts enough of the locals to nearly double their average League attendance, despite us being 4th from bottom of the First Division on merit? Whilst City’s support and unfortunately the results remain constants, there were a few changes about the team for this game. First of all we were playing in black shorts and socks (with the usual blue shirts), secondly we had a new formation with Kinkladze pushed right up front with R