Newsletter #266

Two new faces are training with the Blues but it seems somewhat debatable whether either will end up making a permanent transfer. This issue has news of these two, a longish article from the Platt Lane Correspondent, a scientific debunking of Ferguson, as well as opinion, a working TOFFS URL and last issue’s Why Blue!

Next game, Brentford away, FA Cup 3rd Round, Saturday 25th January 1997


At last my first excursion of the season to see the Blues away from the Academy, and for one of the few times ever, it was a journey by coach, so no fear of losing a license!

So it was an early start, a couple of beers, then a meal in Huddersfield and onto the ground. For all the architectural awards the McAlpine stadium has won, I wasn’t particularly over-impressed. It’s a good design, it’s fairly open and the views were good but I suppose the big disappointment is the open end, it takes something away from the ground, leaves it feeling un-finished (are Huddersfield ever going to build another end?). I suppose what I associate with a ‘real’ ground is 4 completely different stands, usually square with none of the smooth curves and arches! 😉

City had sold out their allocation for the end and several hundred other fans were in the main stand. So it was another packed house with a good atmosphere. Second division teams must be looking forward to the day we’re relegated; at least we can guarantee them one sell out a season.

Onto the game, it was another workmanlike performance, with City having a shaky start but then coming into their own. The City goal followed another of our comical efforts from a free-kick. With Gio stood over the ball, Summerbee took the kick and drilled it straight into the feet of the wall. However, Huddersfield defenders delayed playing the ball away and Rösler hustled Edwards off the ball and crossed into the box for Lomas to score. The goal came just before half-time, a shock to the Huddersfield system? One thing I must mention, why do City fans get excited and bay for Gio to take free-kicks anywhere near the box? Has the guy ever taken a decent free-kick for the Blues (à la Creaney versus Charlton)? City came out for the second half playing better and created several chances in front of the on-song Blues. However, they once more lacked that killer touch in front of goal.

The turning point in the game came when screw-top (BH) brought on a substitute with about 20 minutes to play; from that point onwards, City seemed to be constantly back-peddling. If Tommy Wright Wright Wright hadn’t been playing so well City could quite easily have been beaten. He pulled off some good saves, the best being from a near point blank header when he managed to push the ball away. However, the hanging on couldn’t last and Huddersfield equalised from a corner; Wright went for the ball, didn’t make it and it was a simple task for the ball to be headed home. Once more City conceded a goal from another set play; when are they going to learn to defend them? So the game ended 1-1, thankfully, but I wonder if BH had made the change earlier whether the outcome would have been totally different?

It’s about time Big Al was back, we need a dominant player at the back for these set pieces; the sooner he’s back the better.

Maybe it’s about time FC had a long training session dedicated to defence at set pieces?

Martin Ford (


Paul Dickov has been diagnosed as having shin splints, a painful condition which can fade and reappear on a day to day basis. He will see a specialist to determine the extent of the problem but could be out for some time.

City have asked Brentford to bring forward the kick-off of Saturday’s F.A. Cup tie to 2:00pm so that the game will be completed in daylight and thus there would be less chance of problems with the pitch. Brentford don’t favour the idea at the moment. There will be a pitch inspection on Friday in any case.

Paul Howarth (


City are giving a trial to the much-travelled midfielder Dalian Atkinson, who has recently been at Fenerbahce.

Also in Manchester for talks is the Czech Republic defender Vaclav Nemecek, who is 30 on the 25th of this month. He was the most-capped member of the Czech squad that reached the final of Euro’96 last Summer, having played in nine of the ten qualifying matches and scoring a vital goal against Holland.

The Mole


GMR reports that Dalian Atkinson’s contractual problems have still not been resolved. Apparently he is still waiting for some back pay. He is due to go to a FIFA tribunal on 19th February. It is unlikely that City will be able to play him before then.

Tony Farrar, Salford Blue (


City face some competition for their prospective signings of Vaclav Nemecek and Dalian Atkinson; Italian side Fiorentina, a pair of top German clubs and also some Premiership sides are reported to be interested in Nemecek, whilst Ipswich are thought to be keen on Atkinson.

Paul Howarth (


The Web page for T.O.F.F.S. company is:

I sent off for my catalogue through the Web page and it arrived within a couple of days, not bad service. There are plenty of other shirts to choose from, included in that number are 4 different City shirts, two blue numbers circa 30/40’s and 60’s, the maroon ’56 Cup final shirt and the ’69 red and black cup final shirt. The pricing policy isn’t too bad either, per shirt it’s cheaper to buy a few shirts (also included in the price is postage and packaging within the UK).

Martin Ford (
John Wilson (


I am getting worried. No, not about the team – on current evidence Baron Hardup is well on the way to sorting that out. What I am concerned about is the future support base of our club. Yes a little success will help but, until then, what are the club doing? For every 10 who become City fans at school, one might start coming to games on a regular basis. City must find other ways of attracting support, besides the loyal supporter dragging their children along (even this could be improved as you will see later).

I was recently back in Stockport, seeing a few old friends. One, a teacher said to me: “You know, it’s quite sad. Over the last 5 years the number of kids supporting City in the Stockport area, has dropped off dramatically. Did you know that we’re now level pegging with Stockport County in terms of youngsters supporting us!”

Our recent demise and Trafford Rovers’ success must have had some effect, but level pegging with County – no way. I couldn’t believe my ears, so I did a little bit of research and it’s true. In many schools in the Stockport area City are now level pegging with County in terms of support. My father, who has always been a County fan first (and a City fan second) told me that Stockport County have been giving away free family tickets to local schools for the last five or six years and it is now starting to pay dividends.

Then I looked at what City did to encourage kids to the games and compared it with County. I found us sadly lacking.

  • We give virtually no free tickets away to schools and families.
  • If a County season ticket holder wants to bring a child to the odd game(and sit down), he just writes to the club enclosing payment for his child.By return they get a ticket for the child (often free) plus a free adjacentticket for themselves. At City you have to buy two more (adjacent) tickets,one for the kid and one for yourself (sod the fact that you’ve already paidfor a seat) – many people will find this exercise un-affordable.

Come on City, look to your laurels. At the very least look after the fans (with kids) who already have season tickets. Once the kid has come a few times, it normally wants a season ticket too!

Richard Mottershead (


Cream cakes the key to success

Replying to David Peterson’s “Memories of the Fifties” I can recall the local bakery on Wilmslow Road; actually it was Hames, near to the entrance to Victoria park that sold the cakes with the names of the players on top. Living on Platt Lane my mother bought one of these cakes and I brought it out at half time for the 1955 Cup Final. I ate a large piece and we lost 3-1 to Newcastle. She bought the same cake for the 1956 final – I refused to eat any until after the match – and we won 3-1 against Birmingham. The moral, don’t eat cream sponge cakes at half time if you want to win.

Tony Book’s departure

Like many other people I was sorry to see the manner in which Tony Book left the club. The announcement could have been a bit more diplomatic and perhaps words like resigned or retired used instead of sacked. The rumour going around Platt Lane is that he took the wrong kit (shorts and shirts from different kits) to the away game at Barnsley on Dec. 28th. This was apparently not the first time such things had happened and was the last straw.

No-one will come to Maine Road

In conversation with one of the senior administrative officials recently I commented that I hoped the £10.8 million soon to be raised would all be spent on players. The official’s reply was that the lack of money was not entirely to blame for the lack of good players coming to Maine Road. Good players simply would not come to Maine Road, and the situation was very difficult.

Lomas versus Kinkladze

It has been reported in some of the local press recently that Lomas and Kinkladze were involved in a short bout of fisticuffs whilst training at the Maine Road stadium. The cause of the fight was Lomas telling the rest of the lads not to pass the ball to Kinkladze because no one knows what he is going to do with the ball when he has got it.

Heresy 1

Some may consider it heretical to even consider Kinkladze’s future at Maine Road but I am more than a little inclined to the view that I would sell him and use the money to strengthen midfield. Whilst he is potentially a good player and may well succeed at Barcelona or Newcastle I do not think that he is the player to help get us out of our present mess. Here are my reasons:

  1. He is unable to cope with being man marked.
  2. He is a one footed player who has to bring every ball on to his left foot.
  3. He rarely gets back to mark the opposition.
  4. He hides for 80% of a game.
  5. The other players haven’t a clue what he is going to do next.
  6. Most important of all, he knows he won’t be at Maine Road much longer,probably wants to get away and therefore has no heart for the task at hand.

Heresy 2

If I was Frank Clark I would bring back Clough from Forest and play him in the same position that he is playing for them, e.g. give Clough Kinkladze’s position in a floating rôle just behind the attack for a couple of games and see what happens. It couldn’t be any worse than losing to Port Vale.

I can hear the screams of protest even as I am writing this but these are my opinions and football is all about opinions – and goals – and points – and promotion – and cups…

Via Neale Hayward-Shott (


An economist at Imperial College, Stefan Szymanski has compiled some research on the impact of football managers on teams’ league positions over the period 1974/5 to 1993/4. Some brief comments on this appeared in the FT and Observer last week. Since I’m cheesed off with people using Ferguson as a managers’ rôle model I thought I’d elaborate.

Basically, Stefan looks at correlations between league positions and identities of managers while controlling for a host of things which might affect end-of-season position. Of the controls the most important is spending on player wages and salaries. The more a club pays the higher its league position. Our chairman should take note: in 94/5 out of the bottom 7 spenders on the wage bill in the Premier League 3 teams were relegated! Cutting the wage bill doesn’t usually result in a higher league placing.

109 managers are covered and Stefan ranks these. Ferguson comes a mere 31st. Admittedly, if you took the data to 1996 there would be some improvement in that but basically the Rags have bought their success and Ferguson is not the key factor in that. Indeed, Ferguson appears just 2 places above our own Brian Horton in managerial effectiveness i.e. what you do with the resources available to you.

For the record, the top 6 are:

T.Francis (a surprise there)
D.Bassett (but I still wouldn’t want him at Maine Road)

And the bottom 6

G.Souness (no surprise)
Sir R.Charlton (yes, World Cup winners make lousy managers)

A.Ball didn’t appear in the sample! To qualify, the managers had to be with clubs which produced accounts and I suspect AB’s employers weren’t up to that.

Rankings of some ex-City managers are:

  • M.Machin – 10th so not bad at all as well as helping to deliver 5-1
  • H.Kendall – 14th obviously to do with success at Everton
  • B.Horton – 33rd not too bad
  • J.Frizzell – 44th
  • J.Bond – 83rd much overrated especially by himself
  • P.Neal – 86th

Peter Reid didn’t appear either as to qualify a manager had to have had at least 2 spells of employment. This also rules out Frank Clark.

Such is the fickle nature of academic research that a different investigator could come up with different results even with the same data. Finally, I should point out that Stefan isn’t a Liverpool fan. He actually supports Scunthorpe Utd.

Rob Simmons (


Posted to BlueView and passed onto MCIVTA by Tony Hulme:

I am not a City supporter but my brother is currently an associated schoolboy at Maine Road. He and another City lad were both chosen to go to Lilleshall this year and the club never mentioned it at all. You would think with all the bad times at City that they would take pleasure in telling people the achievements of the young lads.

My brother has hardly received a phone call since going to Lilleshall to see how he is and City don’t issue him with any kit. All the other boys from other clubs get all the top stuff. The way the boys are treated is indicative of the club as a whole. If they’re not careful they will find that youngsters do not want to join their youth set-up.


Just another snippet – the other City associated schoolboy is Leon Mike, cousin of Adie. I used to teach Leon and have seen him play a couple of times. In my opinion, he is an outstanding prospect. This isn’t just my opinion though – he has been selected to represent England schoolboys in the forthcoming Victory Shield series, which Sky will be broadcasting live. Funnily enough, I don’t remember the club publicising this…

This seems so typical. When I had e-mail I remembered there was someone at the club who replied to questions put through MCIVTA. Would it be possible for someone to transfer this to MCIVTA, so someone at the club can see it and we can get an “official” explanation.

Not having money is one thing, treating your youngsters like this is a joke.

Tony Hulme (

CITY vs. DERBY 1977

I was interested to read about Tim Edmondson’s comments with regard to the above game. It was in the 77-78 season and I went to the game, living just down the road at Leicester Poly.

My first impression of Derby was going up to a Policeman at about 1.00pm and asking (very politely) that as we were early, could he direct us to the nearest public house. The policeman then accused us of being football hooligans who were looking to find Dutch courage in order to start trouble. He promptly cuffed my mate round his ear and walked off.

1977 was Tommy Docherty’s first season at Derby after being fired from the Rags for running off with Mary Brown. This prompted some rather mean, but funny chants from the City fans. e.g. “Who’s up Mary Brown” (to the tune of Knees up Mother Brown).

Anyway, to the point. A hard fought, in some cases nasty game was being led by County 2-1 into injury time when City had a corner on the right hand side. I remember the corner came over and Dennis Tueart rose to meet the ball and rocketed it into the back of the net. I think I heard the ref’s whistle as Tueart headed the ball but how he could be so precise I don’t know. I can’t remember who the referee was, only that he was one of the more controversial officials even before that incident. I also remember that was the first time I have been kept locked in at a ground for fear of riots.

Kev Duckworth (


To the “McVittees” who compile all the articles and do all the work,

I’ve just received and read through my third MCIVTA-news and I just wanted to let you know that you are creating pure delight in drab old Germany. I relish the detailed match reports, though the repeated mentioning of a pub lunch and a good pint of bitter before the match puts me in a somewhat melancholic state – German football stadiums are usually way out of town in some industrial or forestry area, with the only nearby “pubs” (run-down, grey watering holes rather) closed or selling lukewarm lager in plastic containers. At the moment the second and youth teams of the Bundesliga clubs pretend playing football by shoving the ball around on small indoor plastic pitches – quite boring, really.

So even seeing City lose to Port Vale on Boxing Day was quite an experience for me. I don’t want to mention the beef, and I don’t want follow good old Kinkel in giving unasked advice, but … what struck me was not the rather nervous than poor performance on the pitch, but the one guy in the stands desperately but vainly shouting “wake up Kippax, wake up.” City supporters near to me were more or less as laid-back, witty and friendly as in better times, plus a little bit of bitter resignation, maybe. Nice for a tourist like me, but nice certainly as well for the away team and the ref, and certainly not as intimidating as 30,000 could be.

While I was over, there was rumour in the pubs of Rösler joining VfB Stuttgart. I think this is completely out of the way, though Brasilian forward Giovanne Elber is leaving Stuttgart at the end of the season. National forward Fredi Bobic asked for a top(!)-player as replacement, threatened to leave the club otherwise.

Thank you so much again.

Uli VonSanden (


Does anyone know the names of any decent pubs in Oxford for drinks prior to/after the game on Sunday (2nd Feb)?

Also, does anybody know whether British Rail will allow drinking on the train on the 09.14 from Piccadilly to Oxford which I presume a lot of City fans will be going down on?



Being born in Macclesfield, Cheshire there was only one team to follow otherwise you were one of these fly by nights that supported the team that was doing well at the time. The other kind of supporters always seemed to work in Parkside which is a large mental institution (do I have to say any more?). The players that inspired me and my brothers to follow the Blues consisted of Big Joe, Donachie, Pardoe, Booth, Doyle, Book, Marsh, Lee, Bell (will never forgive the Rags for breaking his leg), Tueart (memorable for his overhead kick in the final).

As I have travelled around the world I have always tried my best to ensure that at best I keep up with their results and league placing and finding that now in New Zealand I am getting the best and updated information through these pages via the Internet. Although not on the net personally, but being a parasite on a Derby County Fanatic’s web is the best I can do at the time being, which to say the least is a bit hard over the last few weeks as we seem to be having our ongoing saga about Franny’s transfer, the goal that never was and now we have to bring up the infamous penalty spot. Dave said as he was there at the time and they had already played about three minutes of extra time and they were stuffed anyway (seems like a consistent City game); as for the penalty spot the referee was George Yates and Brian Kidd got booked for taking the p**s in his exuberant step taking behind the referee; wasn’t Big Joe also booked after the spot had been painted for a subtle but to the point comment? So please save my ears and let’s discuss any other matches than any against the Rams as it’s hard enough with them being in the Premiership. As for the manager who signed Franny, it was Mackay 73/74.

As for other reasons to follow the Blues and praise one unsung personal hero – Paul Power, a school buddy of my eldest brother but a player who worked hard for the club. Once again City let him go cheaply on to Everton where he flourished and won league medals under Howard Kendall.

Went looking for the Blues magazine but the newsagent didn’t sell S&M mags!

Steve Swindells c/o David Todd (


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

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 #266