Newsletter #278

I’m afraid we only have a cursory match report as we didn’t get any, and it’s been a last minute job. We really need someone to help out with these; we get 2 to 3 for aways but we really struggle for homes: step forward please!

There is more news of Wiekens, despite nothing having broken in the UK press as yet; Beagrie has turned down a loan move to Chelsea; and McGoldrick is in trouble for racist remarks made during last night’s game. Racism also reared its ugly head on the terraces last weekend – see later. There is also some bad news from the Platt Lane Correspondent, the latest details of Sunday’s MCIVTA FC game, opinion and a Why Blue.

Next game, Oldham Athletic at home, Saturday 8th March 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. PORTSMOUTH, Wednesday 5th March 1997

The bad news was that Gio was still sidelined with a groin injury and that Heaney would be out as well. The latter wasn’t too worrying as we expected Beagrie to step up and take his place – apparently not, so no surprise to see him mentioned as part of a prospective loan deal today. The team lined up with Wright in goal, Brightwell, Symons and Beesley across the back, Buzzer, Lomie, McGoldrick, Horlock and Ingram in midfield and Dickov and Rösler up front.

City started off by taking the Portsmouth defence apart on 3 separate occasions: the first saw a tremendous shot from Buzzer well saved, and a couple of minutes later the goalie could only parry a rare on-target(!) shot from Lomie and was lucky that it was cleared. No sooner had we recovered from this when Rösler turned and shot quite beautifully in the box and the goalie again saved, more by accident than design.

We were all woken up when our new goalie toasted his return to Maine Road by kicking a ball straight to a Pompey player (25 yards out) who ran towards Wright, rounded him and then inexplicably hit the ball wide of the gaping goal – cue “How wide do you want the goals?” This was a real let-off. We had the chance to go one up when, after a period of sustained pressure, Horlock hit the bar with a header. There was also total confusion in Pompey’s area when the goalie lost the ball on the touchline and all Dickov has to do was cross to two ummarked City players on the far post (no goalie); he hit it very poorly straight at the defenders inbetween.

The match was marked by lots of niggly tackles and both McGoldrick and Hillier were lucky not to get sent off, Hillier for kicking and swinging at McGoldrick after the latter had retaliated for a series of heavy challenges. The ref began to lose control and I had a doom-laden feeling that he would commit a serious error sooner or later.

Half time was 0-0 but we were one up within a couple of minutes of the restart after a superb turn and cross from Buzzer which was headed powerfully home by Horlock. This galvanised Pompey who set about purposefully attacking City, but largely to no avail; they seemed to control the midfield for long periods but failed to make any chances. City on the other hand had several good chances, including a game of ping pong in Pompey’s area which ended with Lomas kicking over when it seemed easy to score.

City tired visibly in the last 20 minutes and conceded the midfield totally to Pompey, defending on our 18-yard line. Disaster sruck with 4 minutes to go when the ref decided, quite bizarrely, to award a free kick to Pompey on the edge of our area; personally, I thought Brightwell was the aggrieved party! Up stepped an ex-City player (Simpson) to sweetly strike the ball home. City still had time to have a goal disallowed for offside from a free kick. The linesman flagged very quickly and I didn’t complain.

Overall, this game should have been won comfortably, Pompey had 2 chances and we had about 7. The game saw a very poor display from the ref who booked seven, mainly due to a failure to stamp his authority early on. The final straw was the free kick, given for a push when their number 5 had been kicking and leaning all over Dickov the entire game!

Final score: 1-1
Man of the Match: Buzzer



Only a few points to make from last night’s match.

David Hillier should have been booked for the foul on Kevin Horlock and for the ball throwing incident which would meant him being sent off – no wonder Arsenal got rid of him, more a liability than an asset and a prize donkey to boot!

Rösler may as well have been sat next to me (I wish!) for all the good he was on the pitch – maybe he needs a rest?

Was the second “goal” disallowed for offside? Play was at the opposite end and I’m breaking in new glasses – perhaps I should give the ref and his assistants the address of my optician – so I thought I’d catch the highlights on TV. Oh, stupid me! They never showed it! Elton Weasle persisted in harping on about Nicky Summerbee once being the target of “the boo boys”… Yeah, Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. Having said all that, I might have to give Granada the benefit of the doubt ‘cos the King Of The Remote Control (Tony “the tattoed donkey” Hulme) had changed channels so I might have missed the replay – can someone confirm?

A point’s a point, eh?

Win or lose, I’ve got the Blues.

Stay Blue, Stay True – Helen Murtagh (


Gerry Creaney and Andy Dibble’s names have been circulated to other clubs to let them know about their availability. So we’re finally going to see them go after a long amount of speculation. Personally I’ve got no axe to grind with either of them. Gerry was never really given a chance; I still think he’d be useful to have in this division as he’s spent most of his (English) playing career at this level and he should know how to handle the defenders. Andy, I know you’ll find it hard but I don’t feel any hint of malice towards the guy. We all make mistakes, yes and he made a few, but the only problem is that mistakes by goalies are highlighted more. Let’s face it, he also had a poor defence in front of him which nearly always gave him no cover or help when he most needed it. Let’s remember Dibs’ good times, after all he helped to get us promoted and pulled off some spectacular saves. I wish them both well in their future careers.

Martin Ford (


It seems that Stuart Pearce and Dave Bassett made a tempting last-ditch effort to keep Tommy Wright at Nottingham Forest: they offered him a three year contract and also the position of goalkeeping coach. However, Wright declined the offer and will complete his move to City since he wants first team football.

The Mole


Though Immel already signed a contract with German first division club Waldhof Mannheim, there are now rumours about Immel joining first divisioners VfB Leipzig who have still got a reasonable chance of getting promoted to the Bundesliga. Seems like contracts are of no value to German national goalies since Andy Köpke fuzzed around with Stuttgart and Barcelona during the European championships. Contacts between Leipzig and Immel were obviously made via former Dortmund player Manni Burgsmüller, who now represents Reebok.

Cheers from Leipzig, Uli Lambrecht (


City’s game at Tranmere Rovers has been brought forward from 15th April to Tuesday 18th March, and the home game against Grimsby Town will now be played on Wednesday 16th April. The remaining fixtures are therefore:

March 1997

Sat  8 Oldham Athletic         H
Tue 11 Birmingham City         A
Sat 15 Grimsby Town            A
Tue 18 Tranmere Rovers         A
Sat 22 Stoke City              H
Fri 28 Ipswich Town            A (may be changed due to International call-ups)

April 1997

Sat  5 Charlton Athletic       A
Wed  9 Bolton Wanderers        H
Sat 12 West Bromwich Albion    A
Wed 16 Grimsby Town            H
Sat 19 Queens Park Rangers     H
Sat 26 Norwich City            A (may be changed due to International call-ups)

May 1997

Sun  4 Reading                 H
Sun 11 Play-Off S/F 1st Leg
Wed 14 Play-Off S/F 2nd Leg
Mon 26 Play-Off Final

Paul Howarth (


Wiekens has been nominated for first division player of the year, together with a top striker and an old man. And he won’t join City until Summer, since Veendam believe they have no chance to reach the play-offs without him. He was due to have talks with Franny this week, but he did not receive a call to come so they are expected to round it off next week; in the last few days Wiekens has been in nearly every sports programme here so it’ll just be a matter of time.

Gerben de Noord (


Peter Beagrie has turned down a loan move to Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea, preferring instead to try to win a new contract at City since his current one expires at the end of the season.

Gio Kinkladze has been back in training and according to Frank Clark “he has a chance of playing on Saturday.” I’ll believe that when I see it though. Neil Heaney is reported to be fit again after missing the Portsmouth game with a dead leg.

Eddie McGoldrick is in trouble after calling Portsmouth’s Paul Hall a “black b*****d” during a fracas in Wednesday’s game. Frank Clark said that he would be speaking to McGoldrick about it. Meanwhile, PFA boss Gordon Taylor said that they would be doing their utmost to try to stamp out racism from football.

The Mole


Rumour has it that one of new Chief Executive Mike Turner’s first projects will be to expand the City Store on the Maine Road forecourt. This may mean demolishing Stan Gibson’s house and the community programme building next door to make room for the expanded store.

The Mole


Don’t forget everyone, MCVITee are having a kick around on Sunday 9th March at the Armitage Centre, 15:00-17:00; everyone of every standard is welcome. The opposition this time will be a team of Salford University Geographers, led by Joe Googan (ta, Joe for getting the team organised).

As an aside, the Internet Rags are planning on playing some Internet Toons towards the end of March; I’ll try to get some details so we could all go down and support the Toon Army.

Martin Ford (


Over the past 20 years supporters have been allowed to go inside the Platt Lane complex and watch City train. During this time we have watched from behind the rail adjacent to the all weather pitch. The only exception to this has been school holidays. Since Frank Clark arrived we have not been allowed inside the ground itself but have had to watch through the metal railings from the car park area. As this area can be very muddy in wet weather I wrote to the club asking if we might be allowed back in. Normally, during the week, there are only a handful of regulars down watching at Platt Lane. I received the following reply from Alan Hill the Assistant Manager.

“We now have a new policy because of the large number of visitors that come to watch training, but we will arrange a special visit if you write to us with your request in advance.”

“We apologise for the inconvenience, but I’m sure you must appreciate that every manager likes to work in different ways.”

So if McVitee members come from Oz or the States, don’t forget to make a special appointment if you want to get into the complex itself or be prepared to watch from the car park.

I’m quite surprised and disappointed with Alan Hill’s reply. I think we should do everything to encourage our great supporters, especially the kids, to come and watch. When City first bought the old police ground on Platt Lane, they tried to put a 10 foot fence all round the ground for privacy. The local residents were enraged to lose their open view after 70 odd years, and a petition was presented to Manchester City council planning department, who then sided with the residents and the fence was not permitted. The car park area, all weather pitch and grass area nearest to the lake was once part of Platt Fields Park. The parkland was left to the citizens of Manchester at the end of the 19th century by the Worsley family, who lived in Platt Hall. This is why Manchester City share the facilities with the City Council, City before midday and the Council after midday.

I would not be surprised if the next move is to keep us out of the car park area, and that would be the end of your Platt Lane Correspondent!

via Neale Hayward-Shott (


Just a quick one to let any Blues who are in Sydney on Saturday (March 8th) that a number of like-minded souls are having a few beers at the Graphic Arts Club in Regent Street, off Broadway and only a few minutes walk from Central Station, at about 7.30pm.

Well, we’ve had Venables create a bit of interest down here taking over the Socceroos and now one of the world’s foremost coaches is coming down here to coach kids on April 4th in Sydney and he may bring his World Cup winner’s medal with him!

Yes, the short red one! All the good work done with El Tel coming may be undone by our ex-manager, bloody unbelievable!

P.S. we were thinking of putting on our sky blue shirts and giving him a real aussie welcome.

Bill Chapman (


It appears as though the Rags are severely financially missing out in another local hotbed of Rag support, the Far East. There are reports reaching the Swamp that an unscrupulous company is producing Rags merchandising to sell to the masses and the Rags aren’t getting any money back from the scheme. They are dispatching some investigators to the Far East to try to track down the company. However, that won’t be the end of it; it looks almost certain that United will open their own merchandising firm in Hong Kong to serve the massive Far East market. I’ve got to admit it’s a pretty good marketing ploy, it’ll once more make hundreds of thousands (if not millions) for the already overfilled bank balance at the Swamp. Considering HK is soon to become a Chinese territory it’ll also open avenues into a potential market of a billion people, now that is some red army!

Look out Nizam and the rest of our Far East fans, you’re going to get inundated with the genuine Rags and not some copies.

Martin Ford (


The combination of a slow day, a calculator, the First Division league table, and anorak tendancies, has resulted in the following mathematical analysis of the rest of the season. Since the news is good, I thought I’d share it…

Extrapolating the points and goals totals of every team over the rest of the season, the last play-off berth would be taken by Norwich with 71 points and 70 goals scored.

Since Frank Clark’s wunderkinder can hardly be held responsible for the crappy results in 1996, the rest of City’s season should instead be extrapolated from just the seven games since The Messiah took charge, in which we have gained 15 points and scored 15 goals. Therefore, in the final 14 games we would expect to get 30 points and score 30 goals. This would put us on 71 points with 72 goals scored – just enough to edge out Norwich and make it into the play-offs.

The play-offs themselves are too random for the accurate application of numerical techniques, so I’m predicting those results based on a dream I had last week in which we win promotion with a 4-1 Wembley victory over Brazil. And I score a hat-trick.

Mike Maddox (


Is there anywhere on this planet I can go to escape from the forces of darkness? After their 4-0 last night I am being bombarded at home, work in the street and in the pubs. I was looking forward to celebrate (I mean, we were led to believe that Porto were a good side). I even had a Porto shirt ready to place over my desk at work; I might as well throw it in the bin now.

If they do actually manage to win the Cup I think I’m gonna have to emigrate to the Outer Hebrides, Just to escape that Ugly shade of red.

Paul Coleman (


Things must be looking up. It took me three days to get through to the ticket office.

Denis Sheehan (


If anyone can get an “exclusive” interview that would be of interest to City fans please let me know. I could put it onto the Supporters’ Club site. I think “an interview” could even take the form of one or two questions and answers. It would be nice if you could get the permission of the ex-player, current player or official before sending it to me.

Bob Young (


Dear All,

It is unusual for me to air my views on anything specific e.g. views on players or performances etc. I try to confine my articles to MCIVTA for just news purposes. I would however, just like to record my total disgust about another City fan. My girlfriend and I went to the Bradford match on Saturday. After travelling to Bradford, having a nice meal and sampling the pub before the game and then seeing a good performance by the Blues – what could be better I hear you ask? Going to a game without any racist idiots would be a start.

My girlfriend who is Asian and myself were sat behind the goal in the HSG stand. Not long after Horlock had put us 2-0 up a racist dickhead started to sing “I’d rather be a Paki than a Red.” This was sung (as far as I could hear) by one proper knobhead acting on his own. My girlfriend and I decided that if we left it alone then this would hopefully subside. He started again but this time a lot louder. I decided that enough was enough and asked him to stop singing his racist ditty because it was mithering me and other people. This idiot just started shouting racist abuse. Although other people then also asked him to shut up he carried on with the abuse and then tried to start a fight. I informed him that I would ask the police to have him ejected if he didn’t stop. By the time he tried to have another go at me the police (who had just listened to him) then acted and ejected him out of the ground. By the time he was dragged down the stairs Uwe (another foreigner) had scored his second and City’s third.

If you feel the same as I do and this happens at a match please either inform a steward or policeman that this behaviour is spoiling your day. The thing that makes this worse is that the only other time my girlfriend has experienced any racial abuse is by City fans on the way to the Stoke game.

We have to stamp racism out of the game and I hope you will please help me do this. I thought that this was especially sad considering the amount of black, German and Georgian players we have and have had and not to mention Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Northern Irish etc.

Written by a man who is not on a crusade but just pissed off with intolerance.

Stay Blue

Anonymous but genuine [Ashley]


I’m afraid I have to agree with the two writers who recently criticised the police after the Boro game. I too was in the thick of the action after the game, and my 11-year-old nephew was very distressed when the police came charging toward him on huge horses. The police also decided to hit out at people who were not actually fighting. I was pretty worried that they would hit me, and I was only trying to get my wife and nephew to the bus stop in Rusholme. I agree the police don’t always have an easy job, but that isn’t an excuse for ‘heavy handed tactics’, which only serve to fan the flames of violence.

Charles Pollitt (


After reading the experience from the match against Bradford, I only hope that “the shouting oddball” mentioned in the text not was a typical fan of the Blues… of course he isn’t!

Best regards from Sweden

Hope to see City in London on the fifth of April vs. Charlton



Our team is quite simply not fit enough. FC has made great strides in improving the fitness of the team, but the last 20 minutes against Portsmouth show that we have a long way to go – 20 minutes in which Portsmouth dominated the midfield due to their players being fitter.

We now have 13 games left to play.

Barnsley have 12 fixtures remaining. To draw level with them requires us to pull back 17 points in 13 games (14 in 12 – if we win our game in hand!).

Sheffield United have 11 fixtures remaining. To draw level with them requires us to pull back 16 points in 13 games (10 in 11 – if we win our 2 games in hand!).

Norwich City have 10 fixtures remaining. To draw level with them requires us to pull back 12 points in 13 games (3 in 10 – if we win our 3 games in hand!).

Crystal Palace have 12 fixtures remaining. To draw level with them requires us to pull back 11 points in 13 games (8 in 12 – if we win our game in hand!).

From the above figures I would say that Barnsley and Sheffield United are uncatchable. Crystal Palace are also nearly (but not quite) over the horizon. Norwich City on the other hand are definitely catchable – but we must win our games in hand. As our remaining fixtures are so close together – will the team be fit enough to pull it off? If not then next season will be in Division 1 again. Still that’s better than what it could have been before FC took over.

Richard Mottershead (


This is a question which I do not want to remember how many times I have been asked. I come from around 20-25 miles from my beloved Maine Road, I was just far enough away to catch most of the typical Man U*!#%d hassle from people who often travelled to watch the match; this travelling consisted of moving the armchair to get a better view of the TV. Which made them instant experts, many could even name the team (Schmeichel, Cantona, er…, yeah…, can I have a clue). I bet that is a familiar story. Many of whom couldn’t understand why I was so loyal to a team.

However, my answer to the question Why Blue? has always been the same, it was bred into me. If there was such a thing as Blue Blood it would run through my veins. Every relative of mine is a Blue, this runs from aunties, uncles, cousins, the list goes on. So from a very early age I have been influenced. More so as one of my great uncles played in the thirties and was in the two cup finals and won the league.

This is not the reason why I am Blue, the reason is being taken to a match for the first time. I was aged around 6, and it was the promotion season of 84-85 (although I may be wrong), it was against Blackburn Rovers and I watched it from the H block in the Main Stand on my grandad’s season ticket. I can’t remember the result, all I can remember was the fantastic excitement around me. Also what amazed me was the way people seemed to know each other. I can even remember an old lady who sat next to me. Why, sweets are an amazing incentive for a six-year-old!

Well that was it, hooked. Unfortunately, my grandad was too ill to go to many more games that season, so I was now addicted. My abiding memory was the end of that season when we needed to beat Charlton to go up. We did, 5-1 and there was about 45,000 people there. Most of whom ended up on the pitch at the final whistle, with many players being carried off on the shoulders of estatic fans. It still brings a tingle to my spine 13 years later.

I have seen 2 promotions and 2 relegations, so I have been through the good and bad times. The latter outweighing the former. I do remember the 10-1 against Huddersfield and of course the 5-1 against the Rags. But I have seen reverses on those results as well. As well as around 10 managers since Billy McNeill. I have also seen many players come through the ranks, the genius of Paul Lake, David White in full flow, the dependability of Ian Brightwell, plus the present youngsters around.

But this is the joy of supporting City, unpredictability. Though I hope soon to see some European nights at Maine Road, and with Frank Clark I believe we will. It is this dream that means I will be Blue as long as there is a Manchester City playing.

Ian Renard (


Full-time scores and scorers for Wednesday, March 5 1997

MANCHESTER CITY         1-1    PORTSMOUTH                26,051
Horlock (47)                   Simpson (86)
STOKE CITY              3-1    GRIMSBY TOWN               8,621
Southall (og 48)               Livingstone (25)
Kavanagh (50)
Griffin (78)
Sneekes (31)
Murphy (34)
Hunt (74)
Raven (90)

Full-time scores and scorers for Tuesday, March 4 1997

BARNSLEY                1-1    SWINDON TOWN               8,518
Redfearn (35)                  Thorne (41)
Forster (70)                   Bull (1)
                               Goodman (23)
Leaburn (4)                    Dichio (3)
Balmer (26)
CRYSTAL PALACE          1-1    BOLTON WANDERERS          16,035
Linighan (50)                  Blake (90)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN       1-0    OXFORD UNITED             11,276
Makel (27)
IPSWICH TOWN            3-2    BRADFORD CITY              9,367
Sedgley (pen 18)               Sundgot (64, 74)
Sonner (87)
Gregory (90)
OLDHAM ATHLETIC         1-2    TRANMERE ROVERS            5,417
Banger (39)                    Brannan (4, 58)
READING                 2-1    NORWICH CITY               8,174
Morley (20)                    Adams (pen 27)
Adams (og 86)
SHEFFIELD UNITED        3-0    PORT VALE                 14,950
Ward (pen 62)
Taylor (79)
Fjortoft (82)

Up to and including Wednesday, March 5 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        36     20   12    4     73    46        72
Wolverhampton Wanderers 35     18    8    9     49    33        62
Barnsley                34     16   11    7     57    42        59
Sheffield United        35     16   10    9     61    40        58
Norwich City            36     15    9   12     54    55        54
Crystal Palace          34     14   11    9     64    36        53
Ipswich Town            35     13   13    9     50    44        52
Stoke City              34     14    9   11     43    44        51
Tranmere Rovers         34     14    8   12     46    43        50
Port Vale               36     12   14   10     43    42        50
Portsmouth              35     14    8   13     42    39        50
Swindon Town            36     14    7   15     50    47        49
West Bromwich Albion    36     10   14   12     58    61        44
Queens Park Rangers     35     11   11   13     45    48        44
Huddersfield Town       36     11   11   14     41    50        44
Oxford United           35     12    7   16     47    48        43
Reading                 34     11   10   13     45    52        43
Charlton Athletic       34     12    7   15     41    49        43
MANCHESTER CITY         33     12    6   15     43    45        42
Birmingham City         33     10   10   13     37    41        40
Bradford City           35      8   10   17     35    56        34
Southend United         36      7   12   17     34    66        33
Grimsby Town            34      7   10   17     43    63        31
Oldham Athletic         33      7   10   16     34    45        31

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
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Technical Problems: Paul –

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 #278