Newsletter #272

First of all, thanks to Jeremy for taking over MCIVTA at rather short notice and thanks to the Blues for banging in more goals in my absence than I’ve seen at home all season! Thanks also to the other people who offered; I’ve got a list now so next time I’ll hopefully be able to contact people directly.

The fact that we are having to give ‘Boro 8,000 tickets means that there are a mere 22,000 for the rest of us and this has inevitably led to ‘cup fever’ down at the ticket office. More on this to come, no doubt. This issue has news of two potential transfer deals, the new Official City WWW site, a report on the first meeting of the Icelandic Supporters’ Club, Player of the Month (January!), Minutes of the Fans’ Committe, City on TV in the US of A, and the usual spread of opinion.

Home match reports seem to be a little scarce at the moment so, if anyone out there cares to give it a go then I’m sure we’d all be grateful. Also, I’ve used up my last Why Blues so please send ’em on in.

Next game, Middlesbrough at home, F.A. Cup 5th, Saturday 15th February 1997


Tuesday 11th February:

City are making moves in the transfer market, though none has been finalised yet. City have agreed a deal worth around £100,000 for Millwall’s Jason Von Blerk but it hasn’t been completed yet. An offer of £2 million has been made to Nottingham Forest for the versatile Chris Bart-Williams, and City still hope to complete a swap deal involving Tommy Wright and Nigel Clough soon. City are also reported to be interested in signing Dalian Atkinson if he is freed from his Fenerbache contract in a hearing next week.

Jeff “Paddy” Whitley made his international début for Northern Ireland this evening in a 3-0 win over highly-rated Belgium.

The Georgian national team has a new manager following the country’s less than impressive start to their World Cup campaign. The new man is the current manager of Dinamo Tbilisi, who will continue to manage both club and country.

The Mole


Manchester City Football Club are planning to launch the Official City internet site in early March, featuring all the up-to-the-minute news from Maine Road. This new site is set to complement the unofficial sites already in existence; in fact, links to the Supporters’ home page are already being negotiated.

The site will feature five main areas: team and player news, club news, history, fans and the City magazine, and a cyber shop.

Featuring the latest player news, weekly physio reports and weekly contributions from all the relevant Manchester City departments and links to other relevant sites, the club intend the site to be one of the best Official sites currently found on the Net.

The site is being designed by a local internet provider called RedBox, who you will be pleased to hear are massive City fans.

For any further information or further details of the exact launch then please contact MCFC City Net Co-ordinator, Steve Sayer on 0161-224-5000 ext247



Could anyone who wishes to vote in the January Player of the Month poll please send me their 3 nominees by Sunday 16th Feb.

A quick recap of the matches concerned:

  • vs. Crystal Palace Lge (home) drew 1-1. Scorer: opp own goal.
  • vs. Huddersfield Lge (away) drew 1-1. Scorer: Lomas.
  • vs. Brentford Cup (away) won 1-0. Scorer: Summerbee.
  • vs. Sheff Utd Lge (home) drew 0-0.

Ken Foster (


I’ve been asked to include the current version of the fixture list; bear in mind that Grimsby (H) and Tranmere (A) have still to be arranged.


Sat 15 Middlesbrough           (H) (F.A. Cup 5th Round)
Sat 22 Swindon Town            (H)


Sat  1 Bradford City           (A)
Wed  5 Portsmouth              (H)
Sat  8 Oldham Athletic         (H) (or F.A. Cup 6th Round)
Tue 11 Birmingham              (A)
Sat 15 Grimsby Town            (A)
Sat 22 Stoke City              (H)
Fri 28 Ipswich Town            (A)


Sat  5 Charlton Athletic       (A)
Wed  9 Bolton Wanderers        (H)
Sat 12 West Bromwich Albion    (A) (or F.A. Cup Semi-Final)
Sat 19 Queens Park Rangers     (H)
Sat 26 Norwich City            (A)


Sun  4 Reading                 (H)
Sun 11 Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg
Wed 14 Play-Off Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Sat 17 F.A. Cup Final
Mon 26 Play-Off Final




Last week on Tuesday the Icelandic branch of MC’s Supporters’ Club was founded. The attendance was about 25 men, but we had a list of about 60-70 men around the country, so we hope that between 30-40 will be founding members. Those who pay the fee before March 10th will be official founding members.

The meeting went well; for some strange reason it was set at 9 o’clock pm on Tuesday at a sports bar. When I came into that fine establishment the first thing I saw was MU playing Wimbeldon and I thought “s***e, the place is crowded with Rags.” Well, it was, but also there was an enthusiastic crowd of Wimbledon supporters (about 25 of them!) who cheered at the end of the game.

After the game the meeting was set and a board selected. After that there was some chatting about how long and why we were Blue. The “oldest” one started supporting City in 1955; bear in mind that there wasn’t a telly in Iceland till ’66. Also we exchanged info since there isn’t much coverage on the Nationwide League in Iceland. Afterwards we watched most of the 5-1 game and there was generally a good feeling about this thing we were starting.

We will set up a web-page at; it is already under construction.

Since the founding of the Icelandic branch we’ve won every game, and I am expecting this to keep up as long as the Icelandic branch is operational!

Here today, tomorrow the world!

P.S. If there is anyone out there that wants to be a member of this branch of elite Icelanders and residents, just post me.

Fridjon R Fridjonsson (


Monday 3 February 1997

Present for MCFC:
Colin Barlow, Bernard Halford, Jack Richards, Geoff Durbin, Duncan Thomas, Joanne Parker, Michael Peek, Sara Billington and John Clay.

Present for Fans’ Committee:
Carl Heald, Les Saul, Graham Brine, Mark Bittner and Stephen Knott. Also in attendance: three representatives from Stadia Catering.

1. Public Bars

Many concerns have been raised by fans and passed to the Committee concerning the catering e.g. quality, price, choice, service etc.; these were passed on to Stadia. Stadia Catering operate franchises in the North, Main and Kippax Stands and could only answer the concerns regarding these areas. In general, there is a lack of power/drainage points and in some instances space – which prevent Stadia providing the North and Main Stands with the same standards as the Kippax. The Club have responsibility for the power/drainage supply to the bars with Stadia fitting out the bars to their requirements. The club had not been made aware of these additional requirements, and have now requested Stadia to provide a list of any extra facilities their existing bars may need. If the Club provide these, Stadia will be able to improve some of their existing bars – particularly in the North Stand. The Main Stand has greater restrictions on space, but could also benefit by any refits carried out by the Club and Stadia. Stadia feel the service offered in the Kippax Stand is to a standard equal to any other football ground and would ideally wish to bring the North/Main Stands up to this level. N.B. Vouchers/Happy hour ideas are still being discussed with Stadia to encourage earlier entry into the ground. Next meeting – The Umbro Stand. The caterers who operate the bars in the Umbro Stand have been invited to the next meeting. Tell us what you think of the service/standard offered in the Umbro Stand at the usual address.

2. Scoreboards

After the company who were to provide the proposed video screens went into liquidation, the Club acquired two scoreboards (one of which is now up and running) – Until it is decided what will happen to the corner between the North and Kippax Stands, the second of these scoreboards is unlikely to be erected/installed. With each video screen costing £1.3 million it was felt that these scoreboards were the best option.

3. Bookmakers

The bookies are still operating in the North Stand but from a new position; look out for the advert in the programme advising of the new site. There are no suitable positions in the Umbro Stand to site a Bookmaker stand without it causing extra congestion but this is being reassessed with the local licensing authorities in the hope that one may be allowed to be placed in the Stand.

4. Brentford Fixture

Complaints received from City fans regarding the general policing/stewarding of this fixture have highlighted Brentford’s lack of experience with this type of high profile game. This is a separate matter from the postponement situation suffered by City fans; however, there is not much City can do to address our fans’ concerns with Brentford FC other than the steps they have already taken, i.e. complaints to the F.A.

5. Open Day

We now want all your ideas and suggestions for this year’s Open Day which will be staged just prior to the start of the 97/98 season. What would you like to see included/available on this year’s Open Day? Again, ideas to Stephen Knott, Fans’ Committee.

6. Ticket Office

There now is a contingency plan in place to enable the sale of away fixture tickets to fans even if the computer crashes. For home fixtures this is more difficult because of the need to have the seat availability at hand, but there will be a small number available for purchase if this situation occurs.

7. Radio Coverage

The entire Brentrord game was exclusive on Piccadilly Radio with GMR only covering the second half. This could happen again on several other City away fixtures this season.

8. North Stand (vs. Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough have indicated that they would require their full allocation of tickets for the prospective F.A. Cup Tie – i.e, all of the North Stand. The Club have looked at various options for accommodating the Middlesbrough supporters but if they sell their full entitlement (4,500 in the F.A. Cup, current away capacity 2,250), it would leave City with no other option than to give up the full stand.

9. Tony Book

Tony leaving the Club was ‘covered badly’ in the press giving the wrong impression of events. Tony is delighted with the financial package offered by the Club for his retirement, and has left with everyone’s best wishes. Look out for various benefit functions being organized on his behalf with a gala dinner type function being organized by the Football Club.

10. England vs. Georgia

The Travel Club have a limited number of tickets for this fixture and are running a coach ‘package’ to the game. This will be advertised in the match programme – for details contact Garry Wilson at the Travel Club.

11. A.O.B.

Info on the numbers of visiting supporters at Maine Road (and vice versa) will be included in a feature in the City Magazine. With the Managing Director moving to another position within the Club, it is still intended that the Fans’ Committee will function in the same format. The Club will have an Internet site up and running by 3 March 1997, and you will be able to access the Supporters’ Club web site via this site. As yet it is undecided if the Joe Mercer suite will continue next season in the same format. The membership will be consulted on any proposed changes. 1997/1998 Season Ticket prices will be announced on 22 February vs. Swindon Town. For the fixture vs. Bolton Wanderers: tickets will be sold as part of a 2 or 3 game package in an attempt to ensure correct segregation. Also expect strict and early membership scheme being implemented for this fixture (current membership 16,000). Expect the Ipswich (A) and Norwich (A) fixtures to be rearranged from the previously advertised dates. Along with Grimsby (H) the Club are going to have difficulty in ‘fitting in’ all these games before the end of the season – 4 May 1997. Discussions are taking place with the Football League in an attempt to solve this problem.

Next meeting: Monday 24th February 1997, 7:30 pm. Everyone welcome. Remember – Umbro Stand catering standards – what do you think?

All correspondence to: Stephen Knott, Fans’ Committee Co-ordinator, c/o MCFC, Maine Road, Manchester, M14 7WN.

Bob Young (


An interview with Francis Lee appears on If you have any questions for the Chairman please email me on I think the Chairman is happy to take questions in this way.

Bob Young (


Having read that the City vs. Middlesbrough game is on TV here in the States I now have to put a cunning plan into operation. I really do need to go and see City as I have not yet seen them this season and since I don’t know New York can anyone tell me where a good place to go and watch it, Manhattan preferably, would be? I have been home every year since I moved here to see City and intend to before the end of the season but it’s not definite yet.

I’m working in New York on Thursday and Friday and my wife is coming up for Friday, Valentine’s Day. Now she knows how much I hate Valentine’s Day and what a rip off I think it is and this is where I have to be careful.

Yours, quietly in case my wife finds out or I’ll be more Blue than ever,

Richard Lane (


If there are any New York City Blues out there could they give me a call as I will be over for a while working as from 17 February and would be game on for a beer! Alternatively, let me know which is a good pub to watch English footy in.

P.S. Leave a message on +44973745578

Martin Reynolds (


This Saturday’s game will indeed be shown live in the USA on closed circuit television. This is available at many pubs over here especially in the big cities. You can call 415 437 1685 to find the pub/bar nearest you showing the game. Because there are no places near me showing the game and I have a satellite dish (not to mention I begged and pleaded for half an hour, and $50 on my credit card!) they are sending me the feed so I can watch it at home! The King himself… Gio live in action! Any Blues near the Jacksonville Florida area are more than welcome to join me for the game. Kick off is 10.00am EST. E-mail me if interested.

Paul Whittaker (


I remember that match when we were giving that old favourite of ours the bird for recent revelations about his marital discord. To Stanley’s credit he turned to the Kippax and shrugged his shoulders and gestured ‘Don’t Know.’ He got a good reception for that response, bet the ‘wife’ was livid. A similar thing happened with Le Tissier 2 seasons ago down the Dell. Certain sections of the travelling Blues were implying that his looks were not that of a movie star but he took it really well.

The other chant from the Tommy Docherty affair (Ashley please censor if necessary) went something along the lines of:

“He shot, he c**, all over Mary’s bum, Tommy Doc Tommy Doc”

I have to agree, being an nostalgic git, that it would be great if we could revive the practice of having a chant for each player during the kick about.

“Wish I could be like David Watson” – Jam

“Denis Tueart King of all Geordies”

“He’s here, he’s there, he’s every flippin’ where Tommy Booth”

Oh happy days –

Finally the Millenium Stadium – you can forget it.

Have you been to grounds with a track around the pitch – more atmosphere on Jupiter. If it is a 60-70k seater it will look awful less than half full and we might just be able to make out which way City are kicking. If the idea is to use it once in a while for big cup games then maybe. Let’s develop the corners of Maine Road, close in on the pitch, generate an atmosphere and enjoy it.

God I sound like a stick in the mud.

Tim Edmondson (

Apparently the Millenium Stadium is designed with moveable seats that retract to reveal the running track but cover it for other sports.



Living up here in the Peak District I was interested in the City stories about games with Derby County. This reminded me of a tale in the book The Manchester City Story by Andrew Ward.

City in the twenties had an Irishman called Mickey Hamill. On his début he was being marked by Derby’s Egyptian inside right called Tewfik Abdallah. Well, the story goes that Abdallah went on to the Baseball Ground pitch shouting where’s me camel, which seems a likely thing for an Egyptian to be asking (even more so if the pitch had as much sand on it in the twenties has it had in the seventies). However, what he really wanted to know was something quite different – where’s Mick Hamill? Of course in those days they didn’t have numbered shirts.

I doubt very much if this is a genuine story but there you go.

On the subject of Andrew Ward’s book, I was lucky enough to buy one of the fully autographed versions by the 1985 promotion squad. The problem is that there are 21 signatures and I can only read 19 – does anybody know the full list?

The known ones are –

Paul Simpson           Jim Melrose          Graham Smith
Nick Reid              Gary Jackson         Andy May
Steve Kinsey           Paul Power           Jim Tolmie
Tony Cunningham        David Phillips       Alex Williams
Clive Wilson           Derek Parlane        Mick McCarthey
Jamie Hoyland          Graham Baker         Neil McNab
Geoff Lomax

Many thanks, Mike Barton (


My brother went to Maine Road for the third time in his life on Saturday – and for the third time, they won and kept a clean sheet. He must be bringing us luck, so he should be given a free seat for every game. There can’t be many people who’ve never seen City concede a goal, even in only three matches.

A bit from the end of the Guardian’s report on Saturday’s match:

“you cannot keep a good Maine Road optimist down. Clark may have put a hard-headed damper on the play-offs but with Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and those who cannot be mentioned, out of the way, this is surely City’s year to win the cup. You cannot help loving this club.”

Optimistic? Us? Never!

City ’til I die (and I’ve got the t-shirt to prove it!) Julian Griffiths (


I’ve two tickets for sale for the rearranged game against Birmingham, if anyone wants them. They’re the £13.00 seats, in row M of the City Stand. My phone number at work is 01223 494045 – first come first served!

Sharon Bennett (


If anyone has any spare tickets for the `Boro game could they please drop me a line as soon as possible on

S.G. Smith (


Someone in the last mcivta got me thinking about the ticket office…

As someone that can’t get to the ticket office easily (it’s about 80 miles away) I tend to use the dial-a-seat service. In the past few weeks it’s been a lot harder to get through than usual – rather than getting through and finding myself about seventh in the queue, I normally find it’s engaged. Does anyone know how many people work on the dial-a-seat lines? The service would certainly be much better if there were more of them, and if the queuing system could handle more callers.

A few days before the Sheff. Utd. game I decided to go, so I rang dial-a-seat, which was constantly engaged. Finally, at 4-45 the day before the match, I got through, tenth in the queue. By 5 O’clock I was third in the queue, when a recorded message comes on to tell me the office is now closed. Couldn’t they deal with everyone that’s already queuing before closing the office? I wasted fifteen minutes of my time, plus a pretty expensive phone call – fifteen minutes at BT’s national daytime rate can’t be cheap – only to get cut off when I’m near the front of the queue. If there is anyone from the ticket office reading this, get your act together! This isn’t a good way to treat your customers.

Julian Griffiths (


Firstly let me say one thing, I think it is irrelevent what us fans think, as Colin Barlow has been moved to Special Projects Director (translated, there is a big move coming up) I think City are on the way to the New Stadium.

I think most people’s concerns revolve around filling a 60,000 capacity. I have to believe not, as although there is the fan base to, the club is likely to price a lot of fans out of it.

We also have to consider the character of Maine Road. I think a lot of teams don’t like going there (mainly because it is in Moss Side, but that’s another story). It is also home; would you really want to go and watch somewhere else, discover new pubs with new faces? I for one don’t, we can leave that for the away trips.

On the other hand, the ground presently is just not big enough. I can remember the days in the mid eighties where we had 40,000 people there; we can’t have that at the present, nor is there much room to expand. The Main and North Stands aren’t half of what the Platt Lane and Kippax are, so there will have to be some money spent there soon.

Anyway I hope these points help with a few arguments.

Forever Blue (wherever they play), Ian Renard (


I think I have discovered a new medical condition; it’s called “Telephone elbow”. This is encountered when ringing the magnificent City Ticket Office constantly for two and a half hours! And then on and off for the rest of the day. I kid you not.

Yes, City have actually won a few games and we have Boro at home in the F.A. Cup and I can’t bloody get a sodding ticket. I am so annoyed (does it show?). I have heard horror stories from friends about queuing up in horrendous queues. Why the hell didn’t the club bring in the membership scheme? This would surely make it easier to weed out people who are buying 4 tickets each to make a fast buck. Just imagine if we actually win on Saturday? The same fiasco again.

I knew I should have bought a season ticket last year! I have only missed one home league game this season and I am feeling severely aggrieved that I can’t get a ticket for Saturday! God help us if we ever win anything, you won’t be able to get in the place.

Now on Saturday I’ve got to go shopping with the Teletext Red instead of watching my beloved Blues hammer Boro (in my dreams). City, I hope you’re pleased with yourselves!

There, I’ve sounded off enough now.

Christine (


Just thought I’d add my opinion to the Eastlands Stadium debate. I’d prefer the club to stay at Maine Road and try to expand the stands there to make it around 40,000 capacity. Why? Well, imagine watching City in a 60,000 seat stadium with only 26,000 fans there. There would be zero atmosphere. Also the presence of an athletics track between the stands and the pitch would mean we would be further from the action, and the atmosphere would again suffer. The lack of noise is pretty obvious at Maine Road these days, and I can’t see things improving at a new (and much bigger) stadium. Franny argues that a successful City team would draw in bigger crowds, but I honestly think we are more likely to get averages of 40,000 rather than 60,000.

Charles Pollitt (


After reading in Mcivta about AB’s diatribe on TV recently it got me thinking how I could even the score. All of sudden it became clear to me.

If you rearrange (not strictly an anagram) the letters Alan Ball and you know how to get your computer to print an em dash (shift+option+hyphen on a Mac) you get:

Anal – lab. (best viewed in a sans serif font)

And we all know what they make there? A**e holes.

Simon Worrall (


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 #272