Newsletter #264

The late postponement of the Brentford game caused much anger; the game has been rearranged for Saturday week. Despite the lack of a match, we’ve got 2 accounts of futile trips to Middlesex!

FC is showing interest in a Scottish U-21 player but there are money issues to be resolved – getting déjà vu? GMR today report that we are interested in taking Tommy Wright on loan, which is news to me as I thought a loan deal had already been done! We also have plenty of opinion, loads on the disallowed Tueart goal and another good Why Blue.

Next game, Huddersfield Town away, Saturday 18th January, 1997


Having deeply confused Frank, my longtime colleague at work, by leaping up at 3pm and saying, “I’m off to Brentford”, I set off down the M4 on a beautiful afternoon, clear, sunny and mild. The thought of a postponement never crossed my mind, so I didn’t have the radio on, and left the motorway at about 5.45, passing the lit floodlights of the ground, and thinking how much I prefer the old pylon floodlights.

Soon found a place to park, and then located the New Inn. Scanned the two bars for any recognised Mcivta faces, didn’t see any, so bought a pint of Guinness (too cold) – unfortunately, the Fuller’s London Pride was off (a fine beer, laying the myth that Southerners can’t brew beer worth drinking!), and a great ham sandwich – real bread (thick), real butter, and real ham, and settled down for a quiet sup, scanning the door.

Five minutes later, enter the Old Bill, to say “Sorry lads, it’s off”. This was soon confirmed by more City fans who had heard about the pitch inspection, and checked with the club. Hung around for another half-hour, and then set off back to Bristol, somewhat peeved, and was even less gruntled when I hit a long patch of fog after Membury services. Evening was rounded off by our local faves, Bristol City going out of the Cup at mighty Chesterfield.

Strange thing is, having been convinced since the 3rd Round draw that we would lose this tie, as I progressed down the M4, I became more and more confident that we would in fact win. Am now seeking medical attention for this condition.

As an aside… when did we last have any trace of Burgundy on our home kit? Whether it be trim on shirt or shorts, or on the socks? Could it be that our recent decline relates to the disappearance of what I always considered to be an integral part of the City kit? Not sure that this theory is valid, though – could just be that we are no good I guess.

Jeremy Poynton (


Well, what a hassle that was; left work early, spoke to plenty of people who had answered my plight and agreed to meet up in the New Inn, set off and battled my way through the rush hour traffic.

As I was about one mile away from the ground, I felt everything was going too well, plenty of time for some beers and good chat, then a good friend phoned me and proceeded to “wind” me up saying the game was off. Bol****s I said, I can see the floodlights, “alright” he said, “don’t believe me.” I didn’t and drove on, then rounded the last corner to the ground, and to my utter surprise there was the City team coach. I slammed on the brakes and looked up pointing at my City scarf. Kit looked down in pity and shook his head, Paul Dickov mouthed that the game was off. I was utterly bemused, and turned the car around and drove back home. I then thought about all the City fans who had driven down from Manchester, and had now got to go all the way back without seeing a thing. I only had to go to the Docklands.

At least I saw my heroes, and they looked as pee’d off as me!

The ticket still stands for Saturday week; if anyone wants to meet up, and make a bit more of an afternoon of it, give me a call, or e-mail me.

Still unbeaten in ’97!

James Talbot (


Frank Clark’s first game in charge after a rather fortunate and timely mid-season break saw another large crowd turn up at the Academy. Maybe that’s the thinking behind so many managers. Each time we get a new one interest is rekindled and blind optimism restored. The first half was truly appalling. Don’t let anyone kid you otherwise. A weakened Palace side came to spoil and nick one, and we were just very poor. The second half was a vast improvement as both teams and the crowd got stuck in.

I must disagree with those singing Summerbee’s praises. He did look a little more interested, but only a little. For the MUEN to give him Man of the Match was farcical, never mind saying he was back to the form which took him to the fringes of the England squad! Rösler on the other hand worked hard and was a lot more effective than of late. Creaney holds the ball up well, has the strength to shrug off challenges and knows where the goal is. Kave also impressed in his token 10 minutes and with Dickov in the frame it will be interesting to see which combination Clark favours. Let’s hope he puts an end to Rösler and Buzzer’s seeming divine right to be in the starting line up. The other to impress again was Whitley. He’s very positive and when he receives the ball he takes it in his stride, and if there’s space moves into it. So many of our players need three touches to control the ball by which time they’re on the back foot and any openings ahead of them are closed down. We must play him in midfield to support Lomas. Our major failing this season has been the void between midfield and attack. Whitley fills this and will get a few goals. We too often concede the midfield with Buzzer and Heaney wide and not working hard enough. Gio’s workrate was much improved versus Palace, long may it continue.

Finally, the band at the Port Vale game. Drums are not enough. They need brass and French horns, that sort of thing. Like the Dutch at Euro ’96 and Sheffield Wednesday at Anfield. 10 out of 10 for effort and enthusiasm though. They also had a sense of humour. As I raced off to the Gardener’s for a much needed pint they were playing the funeral march through the streets of Rusholme!

Paul Monaghan (


City’s game at Brentford on Tuesday night was postponed two hours before the game was due to kick-off, due to a partly-frozen pitch. Apparently half of the pitch would take a stud and the other half wouldn’t, thus making the surface unplayable.

Paul Howarth (


The MEN reports that City are interested in signing former Scotland U21 defender Gary Smith from French club Rennes. The 25-year-old sweeper moved there from Aberdeen at the end of last season and, under the terms of the Bosman ruling, the Dons would be entitled to a fee if he returned to a British club within 12 months. Aberdeen are thought to be asking around £400,000 for the player. Frank Clark confirmed that Smith’s agent had contacted City and that the Blues were interested, but that he would want to see the player in action first.

Paul Howarth (


My brother and I have managed to get hold of eight tickets for the upcoming England vs. Italy international on February 12th (being a member of the England Travel Club has its privileges). Before anyone gets too excited all our tickets are spoken for!

However, my brother wants to hire a mini-bus, instead of going down in two cars. So are there any City/footie fans out there who have tickets for the game and would like to share the cost of a mini-bus (hire and petrol)? BTW we’re all from the Manchester area, so anyone from the Manchester environs would be welcome. As eight of us are already going, the most places we could offer is 4, as my brother is planning on hiring a 12 seater mini-bus. If anyone is interested then please get in touch.

Martin Ford (


So once more this season another new incumbent came to Maine Road to steady the ship and lead us to glory in the guise this time of Mr Potato Head, Frank Clark. And once more the fans gave him another rapturous welcome, well until he decided to head back to the bench to guide the team.

And so onto the game. We had a couple of players who seemed more fired up and willing to play for the team, especially Rösler who in the first half appeared to be a totally different player; he spent most of his time on his feet chasing lost causes with very little moaning, most surprising. Other players also appeared to be fired up; it must have been FC’s veiled threat about dropping players. However, for all the work City didn’t really threaten Palace, who looked most likely to get anything out of the game, especially through the hard working Hopkins, Dyer and the fast Ndah.

When Gio got clobbered (50/50 ball) I thought that would be end of City, what with his creative genius sadly missing, so it was a pleasant surprise (and relief) that he hobbled back out. City scored through a cracking own goal by Tuttle, everyone around me was just as confused who scored, I thought it was Ingram (only for the fact that it was a bullet header – surely no Palarse player would have headed it home like that). Palarse still managed to equalise thanks to City’s continued inability to defend set pieces; 11 men in the box and still Palarse scored!

A summary, City worked harder but still looked unsettled and not a complete team, a subtle comment, same s**t, different manager!

Other bits…

Continued speculation regarding Kinkladze… I wonder if he’ll play against Brentford? In any case I honestly think that as soon as City are knocked out of the Cup he’ll be on his way, especially if we’re still languishing near the bottom of the league (no incentive to stay). Where should we let him go to? Only one choice: Barca. He won’t be able to do any damage to us, plus he’ll be playing for a team he idolised as a kid. Maybe with Bobby Robson coming under increasing pressure from the Barca fans the arrival of Gio might settle the natives. One thing, maybe we could get some cash and a decent player in return? My personal choice after watching Barca on S4C’s Sgorio programme would be De La Pena; he’s a pretty combative midfielder, with plenty of skill and passion, plus he never seems to get a full game, always on the subs’ bench, so maybe he would like away.

The Owls band. I see City’s attempt at getting some atmosphere against Vale through a band was met with derision from supporters and stewards alike. The fans you can do nothing about but surely those working for the club should have known about the band and treated them with some respect, especially if they had the club’s blessing but maybe that’s too much to ask, after all this is the academy of comedy. If the club wants some guidance they only need to look over the Pennines to Wednesday, their band is welcome at Hillsborough and in fact they appear to have been given there own place in the stands. The fans like them and club respects them, so come on City!

Umbro, umbridge. It seems a shame that City might (will?) be ending their 60-year association with Umbro. I can’t believe that the parting of the waves is on the way, I wonder if all this is due to a descending red mist? Umbro now make the Rags’ shirts, so they are guaranteed to rake in millions from suckers who want the latest designer rip-off Rag shirt. We in comparison must be small fry to the coppers at Wythenshawe (Umbro’s home?) so why be bothered sticking with one of (if not the) longest shirt connections in the world? Tradition counts for nothing! Personally I would be proud of such a long business link, but times are a changing and all that matters these days is the religion of money! So what’s going to happen, will we be bounced from manufacturer to manufacturer, like some nomadic football team, trying to find a home? Also I wonder if Lazio will be changing manufacturer as well? The kits over the last few years have been so similar?

Thanks for letting me ramble, Martin Ford (


I’ve just got back from Brentford and I’m livid. The game was postponed due to a frozen pitch just as we arrived at the ground after having gone to the time, trouble and expense of taking a day off work and travelling half the length of the country to get there. What’s particularly galling is that the temperature has been above freezing all day, so the pitch must have been frozen throughout. Why the game couldn’t have been called off at lunchtime, thus saving us making the long trip south, I really don’t know. I’m told City have made an official complaint, and rightly so, but it won’t do us, the long-suffering fans any good, will it? Still, it could have been worse. Our prospective fourth-round opponents, Watford and Oxford, had their game called off barely minutes before kick-off, with the teams warming up on the pitch!

Paul Howarth (


I began to realise something was wrong when I saw the City team coach going away from the ground last night. Frank Clark looked his usual cheerful self and on being told that the game was called off I can’t blame him. Working in London it was a small inconvenience but for those that travelled down and took time off work I feel really sorry.

Last night’s postponement raises two questions:

  1. If the pitch was frozen last night, why are we having the replay on another Tuesday night when temperatures are still likely to be below freezing?
  2. If we can’t get the game played soon, will this count as a good cup run (we could be in the 5th Round draw if the weather stays the same)?

Sean (


I don’t get over to the UK but two or three times a year. In September I saw the Blues deservedly beaten by a very fast Barnsley side. The team didn’t look that interested in the game which was notable only because it was Jeff Whitley’s début. In my view Whitley was the man of a very sorry match on that day.

This Saturday I went alotrendng to what GMR called “The Pleasure Dome” with my dad at the end of my business trip to UK. The first thing that struck me was that the team warmed up together. They played a game of “one touch” to one another. I don’t see them often but I do not believe I have ever seen a City team warm up as extensively as they did prior to the Crystal Palace game. My thought was that the coaches have realized that these guys don’t think and act like a team, so let’s try to instill a bit of team pride in them. If this is the case I must say that it is a perceptive insight – I hope it continues. I read in Monday’s Telegraph on my way back to Charlotte NC that Frank Clark doesn’t think the standard of fitness is adequate. Thank God! We may have stumbled on to a manager for the team who knows what he is doing!

On to the game – I too was pleased with the output from all the players especially Summerbee. I was also quite impressed with Rösler’s approach to the game. He is going through an incredibly long off-form spell – but in this game at least I thought he put forth a lot of effort. He can be criticised for not following through when he hit the crossbar – but if a person is as frustrated as he must be it’s human nature to fling your arms up in despair when something goes wrong.

I suspect that several of the players will get a quiet talking to this week. Margetson must be made to realize that if he is going to make it at the senior level then he must own the 6-yard box. Lomas must also be taken to one side and counselled not to “press” so hard. The lad had an awful game on Saturday – but he will get it right. I still come back to Whitley. We have an embryonic star there. The 15 minutes or so he was in the game he completely took over the midfield. There was one ball he put into the penalty box which ripped the Palace defence apart. We need to spend a lot of time with that young man. I think he will be running our midfield for years after Kinky has moved on. Finally, after we scored our goal on Saturday we let Palace back into the game by trying to defend in depth. After the goal went in we surrendered the midfield and it was inevitable that we were going to be under tremendous pressure.

All in all though I am encouraged – I don’t believe in quick fixes. FC is going to have to do a lot of work with this squad (including letting a few of them go) but based on this one performance the team demonstrated a little bit of heart.

Mike Edwards (


In the light of the shambles at Brentford, would it not make sense during periods of bad weather to make a preliminary pitch inspection the preceding day of the fixture, at or around the projected kick-off time? A local ref could be used, and they could then decide whether or not, in the current conditions, the game could go ahead. Then, the next day, if conditions are looking to be the same, a decision could be made as to whether the game can proceed much earlier than currently happens – i.e. before thousands of fans set off on long motorway journeys to their destination.

Or would this just be too sensible for the FA?

The rearrangement of the City game to the Saturday means that Brentford have a pair of Bristols within 4 days, Bristol City this Saturday, and Rovers on the Tuesday … 8-))

Jeremy Poynton (


I can’t enlighten Stefan Franczuk any further on whether having 5 managers in a season is a record. However, I would point out that Paul Dickov started the season calling Bruce Rioch “Boss”. Then it was Stuart Houston. Then Pat Rice. I believe he then transferred to City before Arsene Wenger arrived. So that makes it 8 managers between the start of the season and the first game of the new year. Now that must be a record! Does anyone have any clues as to how Paul might have caused all this mayhem? Can we sell him to the Rags?

Rich Furniss (


Is it me or is anybody else getting brassed off with the constant harping on about the ‘ever loyal’ Newcastle fans?

When I was at university there as recently as 1991, I attended a game at St James’ against Swindon on the famous (but empty) Gallowgate. From memory there were about 12,000 there. Their average at this time was 13,000-14,000.

So if you hear anybody spouting this bollocks about them being the best in the country again just point this out and then request them to have a look at City’s crowds during our everlasting lean spell, and our average this season when we are as low as they were, and politely tell them to shut up.



Could I ask through the newsletter, if anybody remembers City of the mid fifties? The team was Trautmann: Leivers, Little: Barnes, Ewing, Paul: Fagan, Hayes, Revie, Johnson, Clarke. Plus of course other players whose names escape me. All teams played 5,3,2 formation. 5 being the forward line up. I was a youngster of 12-15 (after which girls were discovered). City were my heroes. Beaten cup finalists in `55, winners in `56. However, even in those days the best games were relegation battles. If anyone has any data or memories of that era I’d be very happy to hear from you.

Harry Cooper (


I am desperately seeking two tickets for the Huddersfield away game on Saturday. If anyone can help me out please can they call me at work on Friday before 5.15pm on 0161 236 7733, or after that at home on 01925 752369, or at the e-mail address below.

Please help!



With regard to the Quiz Question asked by Tim Edmondson in MCIVTA 263, I think this might help.

I have been following City (from a distance) since 1975 and I still remember one such goal, disallowed by the ref for full time, scored by Dennis Tueart. I watched that match on TV and was utterly disgusted by the inapt refereeing. Needless to say, this trend has not changed to this day.

Up the Blues, Nizam M Idris (


Tim Edmondson asked who put the ball in the back of the net for City in the last second of the game only to have the goal disallowed because the referee had blown for full time a fraction of a second before the ball had crossed the line – in his opinion! I seem to recall that it was Dennis Tueart. I was at the game and remember having to listen to the radio to find out the final score! I’m afraid I haven’t a clue as to who the referee was though.

Another débâcle at the Baseball Ground which is worthy of a mention goes back to about the same era. This was when City were awarded a penalty against the Rams but were unable to identify the penalty spot due to the state of the playing surface which resembled a cross between a mud bath and Blackpool beach. Brian Kidd marched up to the penalty area and paced out the distance from the goal line to where he thought the spot should have been and was promptly booked by the referee for his trouble! Eventually, the groundsman was called to measure out the distance and re-mark the spot.

Tony Lawson (


I remember the Derby County game (at Derby) in the late seventies when the ref blew as the ball was flying into the back of the net for a late City equaliser.

To remember the names, well that may be another matter. I’m not sure, but I think the “scorer” was Dennis Tueart. The ref I don’t know except that he was an experienced one, because after the game on Match of the Day someone (I’m not sure who, but he had great knowledge about the game, such as the ref himself, or Jimmy Hill) said that they recommended that a relatively inexperienced ref not take such a course of action, i.e. blowing while the ball is in the air flying towards the goal!

While we are on the subject of memories, how about this one. I don’t know why it came to me, but I suppose in the light of this season’s disasters it was inevitable. For some reason this Derby incident reminded me of a City game I went to see at Portman Road, against Ipswich Town.

You know the buzz and hype when travelling to a new ground to watch a game, the anticipation of the result, is so-and-so going to play and all that. Well, were we quickly made to realise what a load of old b******s that was, and what a wasted trip it was to be: after 15 or so minutes City were 3-0 down. It finished 4-0 and about the only other thing that happened was that Tony Henry hit the crossbar. I think Ipswich played with a reserve ‘keeper that day.

This was one of the very few times I have been to watch a football game and actually wished I hadn’t. At the moment I can’t actually remember another one, but I know there is at least one, though not necessarily a City game.

I’m sure some good memories will start coming back sooner or later, but in the meantime it’s back to the doom and gloom of everyday City life.

Kai Polak (


In response to Tim Edmonson’s query regarding a very late goal in a City game at the Baseball Ground, I don’t think it was the 1979-80 season because I was at the game and it was one to remember for other reasons. It was the last game of the season and City had already avoided relegation by beating Bristol City at home the previous week and thus Malcolm Allison’s job was safe for the time being. I saved my paper round money for many weeks and myself and another ragged-arsed Gortonian schoolboy ventured into the distant wilderness of Derbyshire (well I was only twelve and it was a big adventure!). The away end in those days was what I would describe as a trench down one flank of the pitch and it was packed. My view of the game was at ankle-level and, although my memory of the proceedings is not good, we lost 1-3 and I can’t remember any controversial late goals. Despite Derby winning (by the way, are they still known by the endearing term “sheep-shaggers”?), they were relegated and a major pitch invasion at the end of the game degenerated into sporadic crowd trouble.

I do recall Dennis Tueart scoring with his hand in one game at the Baseball Ground in the mid-late 1970’s but can’t remember if it was allowed? Actually there’s a few interesting memories of encounters with Derby, e.g., Niall Quinn’s penalty save, the 0-6 loss, Franny Lee’s goal for Derby and Mike Doyle thumping Leighton James and getting sent off at Maine Road. Never a dull moment!

Best wishes to one and all for 1997 and get behind Frank Clark and the team!

Neil Adshead, Misima Island, Papua New Guinea, SW Pacific (


I don’t remember the particular incident referred to in MCIVTA 263 but I do recall a Derby vs. City game in the early/mid 70s where City played in a low cross for Franny to nod in; in a magnificent forerunner to the Hand of God incident he stuck his paw out and patted it in; everybody in the ground and on Match of the Day saw it clearly, except the ref and linesman.

The best part was Clough talking to Jimmy Hill afterwards, and having apoplexy, not so much because of the handball, but because our chairman had the temerity to own up afterwards, and make the ref look ridiculous.

Question: who was the manager at Derby that signed Lee, Clough or Mackay…?

Fraser Davidson (


Why indeed? Born in Ethiopia back in 1961 (folks out there teaching) we returned to England in about 1965 to live in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport; time for me to decide which team to support. Well, it wasn’t difficult, my elder bother supported the Rags, I hated him, best way to annoy the pants off him, support Man City – simple.

Good on the old fellow, a Red but decent and didn’t force me to support them and top marks to the old Queen who decided to support City to even out the numbers.

Between the regular fighting and taunting which drove my dad crazy “no football talk over tea or I’ll thrash you and send you to bed” my brother and I found a common ground in hating Leeds Utd. We would get our footy albums, rip out pictures of Clarke, Giles, Jones and flush them down the loo adding our lubrication to send them on the way (I’m better now).

A crucial moment in cementing my young support was one Christmas when my gran had promised to knit us both scarves as presents. When the day came and when we duly opened the packages out came red and white Rag and then to my horror I received a navy blue and white thing – tears rocketed out and mum had to unstitch and re-sew the whole thing – sky blue or nothing for me.

So it’s off to primary school to find I had mates that supported both sides. That was friendly enough but secondary school was open warfare. The big irony was that everyone had mates who supported the other team yet they were still your friends – you just hated the club they supported. Transferring across teams was a no no and those who tried were rejected by both sets of supporters.

The first recollection of attending a game was a Derby when both sets of fans still stood together. The lad I went with was butted by a young yob so his dad had to step in. The score? Who knows, I was waiting to get butted.

Then I started to go regularly to home games, so a junior season ticket was in order. I am going mad but could the price really have been as little as £3.00 or was it £7.00 back in 1975? Anyway, the real scam was that you could re-apply for a junior ticket every year, even when you were having to be careful not to catch your beard on the turnstile on the way through.

Embarrassing moment – answered an ad offering a free ticket in the North Stand every week if you would chaperone a young female supporter. I applied, was accepted and then given the boot a few weeks later for not ‘making a pass’ at the young girl. It was a kind of find-a-boyfriend exercise and I was far too innocent for all that.

Memorable moments:

  • The night we beat Schalke 04 in the semi of the Cup Winners’ Cup, withmy scum bag brother trying to convince me that if Schalke scored theywould win on away goals when we were about 16-2 ahead on aggregate.Then winning the final.
  • Avoiding the footy results (70’s) all evening to watch thethrashing of the Rags on telly in the League Cup and the injury toColin that would curtail a great career.
  • His return for that mid-week game against Newcastle. Thereception, the atmosphere, the result. Can’t remember what the crowdwas that night but every Blue in the world was at that game.
  • Beating Leeds in the cup a few weeks later at Elland Road (2-1Barnes and Tueart?) with their fans storming the pitch trying to getthe game cancelled. Bell was hobbling all game and yet he ran themidfield. Then an industrial dispute stopped the BBC from showing thegame in MOTD that evening. Got a kick on the way out from a friendlyTyke, but it was worth it – just.
  • Peter Barnes’ goal straight from the kick off against BristolCity, beat about 6 men, dummied a shot and chipped the keeper, Giomust have been shown a video of it before the Southampton game.
  • Tueart’s overhead.

Worst moments:

  • King Colin’s injury.
  • Paul Lake’s injury.
  • Raddy Antic.
  • Losing 2-3 to them after Niall had given us a 2 goal lead severalseasons ago. I just went upstairs to a darkened room and lay downdepressed for hours. The ex came up to nag me to grow up and act justas emotionally in our relationship – that’s why she is the ex.

I could add so much more drivel but you’ve probably stopped reading by now, so I’ll bring things up to date. Currently with those of you exiled in London and therefore can be seen in despair at all Southern games. Still got a northern accent and nowhere near as enlightened as the old man, i.e. if I have any kids they’ll be Blues or they’ll be locked in a cupboard.

This is our worst ever period but supporting City has taken a perverse streak and you learn to laugh through all the problems and just keep going along hoping that this week Summerbee has been dropped and somebody scores.

Forever Blue, Tim Edmondson (


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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 #264