Newsletter #289

Mixed bag this edition, important note on EuroNet 97 – please contact author for details (not me). My mathematical challenge was taken up and there is a promise of audio for the Norwich game. Rumours of a £10K a week offer for Gio which I applaud FC for.

Next game, Queens Park Rangers at home, Saturday 19th April 1997


As this is my first correspondence with MCIVTA I would like to congratulate Ashley et al for the stonkingly good newsletters.

I feel compelled to write in cos I have just finished reading Harry Cooper’s opinion that we are crap. Why can’t some City fans accept that in order to get back into the Premiership, be and remain successful as a quality team we need to build a team.

This takes time!

What point is there in FC spending £10m in a desperate attempt to get a poor team into the Premiership, only to be relegated the next year or so? If FC had gone out and spent, we would most probably be in no better a situation, but have bought 2 or 3 players at highly inflated prices. It is quite obvious from watching City that 2 or 3 players isn’t enough, we probably need nearer 10. Besides that, who the f*** is going to sign for City!

What we need to do is give FC time, let him see what he can make of the current squad (e.g. Buzzer Jnr’s transformation from sh**e to bright!) and strengthen the defence over the summer.

Looking back at City sides, we have spent massive amounts of money on mediocre players and made many bad buys and wasted money; please don’t pressurize the management into repeating this.

Also I hope the rumors about Gio and Arsenal are untrue ’cause he is worth more than £7 million.

Blue through and through, John Conlon (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. GRIMSBY TOWN, Wednesday 16th April 1997

“and the City scorer is Mike…er….Nicky Summerbee”

Another almost balmy evening in Manchester with 23,000 assembled to watch a match that was really only important for Grimsby. Everyone seemed in nonchalant mood and unfortunately, this turned out to also extend to the team. City lined up as follows:

Brightwell	Symons	 	Kernaghan	Brannan
Buzzer			Kinky			Horlock
		Rösler		Atkinson

This looked a pretty defensive line-up with Clough sitting deep in front of the defence. City however, were out to stroll it, whilst Grimsby just looked like they’d turned up to be thrashed. It wasn’t long before City opened them up, with a lovely through ball which put Atkinson clear right in front of goal – more appalling defending than anything else. The goalie made an excellent save and Atkinson got a second try but his weak shot was cleared by a defender running in. Minutes later a beautiful cross from Gio was headed against the bar, once again by Atkinson. “Oh well” I thought, shouldn’t be long before one goes in.

City still came forward but Grimsby defended in depth, a surprising strategy as it was they who desperately needed the points. Surprising maybe, but it appeared to be working as City appeared totally unable to get past the massed defence. City repeatedly stroked the ball across the midfield, but couldn’t seem to find the killer ball into the area. The killer ball did however finally arrive and courtesy of a City player; unfortunately, it was at the other end. City stroked the ball across the back four but the last ball to Brightwell was a little on the short side. Up ambles Bob and calmy strokes the ball back in Margetson’s direction but, about 4 yards short! Margetson had no chance of getting to the ball but still managed to pull off a fine save from the Grimsby striker; he didn’t get a second chance though, with the rebound being quickly stroked home. This was truly atrocious and complacent defending and Brightwell rightly hung his head in shame.

Still, all was not lost as Grimsby looked a poor team and their goalie seemed unable to deal with anything high in the box. We had another chance after about 30 minutes which resulted in the ball hitting the bar, but from whom, I couldn’t see. After this, we were treated to the most unimaginative display that I’ve had the misfortune to watch for quite some time. Clough was utterly useless and Brightwell frequently appeared on the wing in front of Buzzer but as usual, just passed the ball back inside. It really was dire, and at one point, there were loud boos after a particularly lengthy spell of utterly pointless transverse passing. Half time came as a blessing!

Surely FC was going to make a change? Yes he was, but not the one we expected; Crooks on at right back, Bob into central defence replacing Kernaghan. This at least removed Brightwell from the right wing where he had provided a cul-de-sac for our attacking moves. The change didn’t however have much impact until about 20 minutes in when the ball bobbled around in front of the Grimsby area; it appeared to take a deflection as it was passed forward but Atkinson didn’t complain as he beat the goalie to the ball and poked it underneath his body.

This gee’d City up somewhat and they appeared to want to play a bit of football. Grimsby also came forward, having a couple of half chances but nothing which could be called a miss. With about 15 minutes to go, a long ball was hit deliberately towards Buzzer and Horlock who were breaking down the right side, Horlock took the ball to the byeline and pulled it back for Buzzer to power home an excellent shot – a clinical finish.

Gio then looked to have woken up and jinked his way through several Grimsby players, only to be upended. The free kick was quickly taken but was deflected for a corner. About 10 minutes before time, Gio once again decided to take on all the Town defence and when he’d finally drawn 4 of them to stand in front of him, he calmly threaded the ball between them for Buzzer to run on to and smack yet another glorious shot into the back of the net. There were a few more chances but nothing decent.

Final score: City 3 Grimsby 1

We were simply clueless for long periods of this game, we had a flat back four marking a less than prolific strikeforce, and the utterly turgid Clough in front of them. We hardly made a tackle – as a team – all night, Atkinson was about the only one. Brannan is wasted at left back, Brightwell is a liability, and Horlock needs to play in central midfield. Hardly anyone ran into space and we looked jaded.


Margetson (8) No chance with the goal, very safe all night and a good kicker.
Bob: 1st half (2); 2nd half (6) This man shoudl not be allowed to play at right back, he can’t defend against good wingers and nullifies any attacks down the right.
Symons (4) Looked poor and frequently resorted to hoofing it!
Kernaghan (6) Average performance.
Brannan (5) We bought this man to tackle hard and he’s tucked away on the left – why?
Clough (2) Simply anonymous and, in my considered judgement (yes – honest) should never play for us again!
Buzzer (7) Failed to take people on (looks tired?) but his 2 goals were as good a shots as you are likely to see.
Gio (7) Nobody ran into space so Gio was shadowed across the front of the defence, his pass to Buzzer was however, divine.
Horlock (6) Wasted on the left, should be in the middle.
Rösler (6) Ran hard but looked largely ineffectual.
Atkinson (7) Should have scored 3, looks to be getting fitter.
Crooks (5) Seems to have been taking lessons from Bob, ran brilliantly down the wing to receive a through ball but instead of crossing, inexplicably passed it 15 yards back so the ball ended up in front of Grimsby’s defence!?
Heaney (6) Sub, on for Rösler at the death.

Ashley (


Is it only me who was celebrating two famous City victories last night? Yes, we turned over Grimsby 3-1 but what else?

Ex-Blue player turned manager versus ex-Rag player turned manager. We won the Coca-Cola Cup!

At last some silverware.

Adrian (


After Wednesday’s victory over Grimsby, City are now mathematically safe from relegation; in fact a draw would have been sufficient. Now none of the bottom four can catch us. Incidentally, we did 4 other clubs (Charlton, Reading, West Brom and Swindon) a big favour by making them safe as well.

Looking towards the other end of the table – and long-term readers of MCIVTA will know me as an unrepentant optimist – it is still possible for us to reach the play-offs. We are seven points behind Ipswich (in 6th) with four games left of which we have to win every one to stand a cat’s chance in hell, hoping that the teams above us stumble. We play two of those teams (Ipswich and Norwich), so we do have some say in our destiny but not much.

As much of an optimist as I am, I do not rate our chances very well. Indeed, if by some miracle we were to reach the play-offs and win them, we would be in for another long, hard slog of a Premiership season, fighting against relegation. However, if we don’t go up, there is a fair chance we will lose Kinky to Spain or Italy. I hope his future is decided as soon as our season is over and it’s good to see that Frank Clark is making overtures now.

The last game I made it to was the Charlton away game and I thought we were unfortunate not to win it. The deciding factor against us was that we did not show enough guile to crack down the well-organised defence. Still, it was a huge improvment over the garbage I saw at Reading and Swindon B.C. (Before Clark).

I can confirm Peter Kewley’s opinion, expressed in his match report, that most of the Blues arriving late at the ground had done so via the pub. I’ve noticed this a few times this season (QPR especially). Has City’s recent plight driven us all to alcoholism? Or are they simply unwatchable without the comfort factor of a few pints?

Plus the Charlton snack bar ran out of food (yes, all food) before half-time. Unbelievable. They must have known the away end was sold out or are they always this incompetent? I shall be very happy to see the back of badly organised grounds when we finally get out of this division. It’s been nice to add a few more grounds to my list but I’d prefer to be doing that in the Cup games!

Finally, congrats are due to Leicester for beating the Boro and to Ashley and his extended family!

James Nash (


Now that the season is nearing an end I am sure that Frank Clark has lined up his off season friendlies. Last year without being consulted City played my beloved Cork City (the team closest to my heart) when I was on holidays. Does anyone out there have the pre-season friendly list?

Does the Man City shop do Man city baby gros… My son needs to be indoctrinated fast to the team he should be following.

Kieran Daly (


Issue 8

City Mag – Volume 2 issue 8

(A much fresher shorter version than last month, to the relief of many I presume!)

Cover boys! – Brannan and Greenacre, with a sticker of Kit.

Usual contents. Maine Frames includes a good photo of Atkinson after scoring against Stoke. All the day to day stuff in the diary, mind you we get it all as it happens each week and don’t have to wait for the mag!

Maine Events feature our five youngsters signing new contracts, good to see. Big Frank getting a taste of silverware with the Yokohama Tyres/Nationwide league “best performance on the road” award.

Advert for back issues; apparently there has been a Gio special recently which I obviously missed, I’ll be ordering one and will review it as and when it arrives.

First interview is with Ged Brannan; all the usual stuff really, big club, great fans etc.

Second interview – Mike Turner, our new chief exec.; quite a good piece on how a City fan has achieved a lifelong ambition of actually contributing something good to the club. I think he’ll be a good asset.

The comeback kids – news on the near comebacks from injury for Scott Hiley and Dickie Edghill, both of them looking forward to running back out at Maine Road.

Blue Watch – Can’t be bothered with this as I think it is rubbish and they should adopt a new piece based around the McVittee great “Why Blue”.

Centre page pullout – team photo with a notable absence being Andy Dibble.

Hutch Rabbit – the first of a new series on three Scots who joined City in the relegation season of 1980. First one – Tommy H. An interesting read.

The boy done well – Chris Greenacre talking on his brakthrough to the first team at his tender age. IMO one of the up and coming stars of the future and forget this Scottish bloke, stick to homegrown talent.

20 Questions with Kit Symons. I know I like this bloke and would get on with him when he makes a comment like “My favourite soap star is Annalise from Neighbours, purely for her acting skills of course!” Does it again later when asked about his idea of paradise: “A night out with Claudia Schiffer, but not as good as with Lucy (his wife)” as the mag says – cover those tracks Kit!

One personal point i’d like to address, and people can call me thick but have the Scum really trademarked the phrase “The World’s Greatest Team” – only everywhere I see it there is a little “tm” next to it, or is it us lot just taking the p**s?!

James Talbot (


Calling all players…

After the ‘problems’ with the proposed EURONET 97 competition in Bradford, based at the University (see message elsewhere) there’s a chance to still play a game for MCIVTA.

How would you like to represent MCIVTA and therefore City in a charity game to be played at the Pulse Stadium, a.k.a. Valley Parade (play on a real pitch at a real ground)? Mark Varley ( is acting as the local contact; if you’d like to play and will be available on the said day please let him know (or if you want mail me at

The date is not yet confirmed, but it is 99% likely that it will be Wednesday May 7th, kick off at 6:30. The match is a charity fixture against the staff and students of Bradford and Ilkley Community College. The reason why they want to play a Man City team is because their ex-president was a big Man City fan and supported the staff team heavily… hence this fixture.

I’m (Mark Varley) acting as the Manchester City contact/manager for the fixture and have been given the task of putting a team together. I can easily get a squad together from Bradford lads, but I want genuine City fans first and foremost to play. Each team is restricted to a squad of 14 players, so I basically need 11 players to join myself and two guys at the this end who are signed up for the match.

There are some costs as well for the players to consider. Here’s a rundown of the facts as I know them at the moment:

  • Match to be played at Valley Parade in aid of the Lord Mayor’s appeal (a cancer hospice in Bradford)
  • Date possibly Wednesday 7th May
  • A squad of 14 players needed
  • A buffet will be provided after the match in the players’ lounge
  • It will be an open gate with spectators paying £1 to get in
  • Players needed to contribute towards cost of 3 stewards (big game!), after match catering, player insurance etc. This figure is likely to be about £10 give or take a few quid either way.

So basically it will cost some money to play, but then again it is at a proper ground in a proper game.

If you can help me out and want to play then give me a shout. Also if you have any ideas or suggestions, then likewise I am open to them too.

Martin Ford ( & Mark Varley (


The story so far:

Euronet 97 was supposed to take place on the 28/29th June in Bradford, utilising two pitches at Grange Sports Centre and a further two at the nearby council owned site at Cross Lane. On contacting the Parks and Recreation Division at Bradford Council, we were told that given the size of the competition, it would have to be officially registered with the West Riding County Football Association – No Registration – No Pitches! Details were sent to the WRCFA and a reply was received shortly afterwards, informing us that as teams would be coming from all over the country, the tournament would have to be sanctioned by the Football Association at Lancaster Gate and that copies of our correspondence had been forwarded accordingly. A reply for and on behalf of the Chief Executive, Mr. Graham Kelly, was received by me on April 4th. I quote from the main body of the letter:

“I have to inform you that under our Rules and Regulations it is not permissable for an 11-a-side competition to be staged on the proposed dates of the 28th and 29th June. This is within the official close season which runs from the 16th June to the 15th July inclusive. I would also point out that mixed football is not permitted.”

Our initial reaction was to ignore this and recontact Grange Sports Centre to see if they could hire us four pitches instead of the original two. The manager felt they could accommodate us, with three of their pitches, and another one they are allowed to make use of, less than a quarter of a mile away. All systems go – until yesterday!

I received a phone call late yesterday afternoon from the Manager of Grange Sports Centre, who had been in contact with Bradford Council. They have been told by the Parks and Recreation Division, who in turn are receiving instructions from the West Riding County FA and Lancaster Gate, that they cannot hire the pitches out to us for 11-a-side football that weekend under any circumstances whatsoever.

Our efforts to circumvent FA bureaucracy have come to nought and we are left with little, if any, alternative but to move the tournament out of the official close-season period. We propose therefore, that the tournament now takes place on the 19/20th July.

We apologise in advance of course, for any inconvenience caused, but the problems this has created at Internet Football Association HQ are already increasing the grey hair count amongst the Executive Committee. Look on the bright side – you all have an extra three weeks to get fit!

Further information to follow in due course.

P.S. Isn’t that Graham Kelly a wonderful chap!



Would all players and supporters who want to represent MCIVTA at EURONET 97 please let me know of their accommodation needs. So far I’ve had one definite response for overnight accommodation. The request must reach me no later then Friday 25th April.

If you fancy playing then please let me know. The squad is allowed to have 22 players; currently we have about 12 players, so more players are needed.

The organisers have put together a site (still under construction), so if anyone wants to have a look then check out:

Many thanks, Martin (


In response to the challenge to come up with a mathematical analysis of City’s chances of going up, I’ve wasted half the afternoon doing just that.

Okay, so if we assume that a win, draw or loss is equally likely for every team (ignoring the fact that some of the teams concerned play each other), I’ve calculated the probabilities of each possible final points total for each of the top 8 teams that we can mathematically catch (as of April 16, after our spectacular comeback victory over Grimsby – at least is was spectacular on Soccernet, where we were 1-0 down for ages, then I looked away for a few minutes and came back to a 3-1 scoreline). Having done the same thing for the Blues, I then figured out our chances of finishing on the same points (I gave us the benefit of the doubt regarding goals scored if we’re level, on the grounds that we have to win and the other teams have to lose for us to catch them, so this category should swing in our favour if we make a late run), or ahead of, each of the 8 teams considered (from Wolves down to Portsmouth). Here are the results;

Team			odds against catching them
Wolves				6610 to 1
Sheffield United		 549 to 1
Port Vale			  71 to 1
Ipswich				  32 to 1
Crystal Palace			  17 to 1
Tranmere			   9 to 1
Norwich				   6 to 1
Portsmouth			  10 to 1

Overall conclusions:

  • Don’t put any money on us catching Wolves.
  • If you can get about 50 to 1 against us going up, it might be worth a fiver.
  • I probably didn’t earn my paycheck today.

Mike Maddox (


Harry Cooper’s lament on the state of our beloved team got me thinking a bit about where we might be in ten years time.

Every year we see the points gap between those at the foot of the Premier and those at the top getting narrower. This means that the quality of the teams going down into the 1st Division is not different to those who stay up, or even those who scrape a UEFA place. Over time, this means that the whole of the First Division will be populated by Premier hopefuls.

Even if FC manages to persuade Gio to stay and builds the team around him, I see the distinct possibility of us missing out on promotion (either like this year or when we falter in the play-offs) for many years to come.

Ten years ago, you could have looked at Wolves and seen a similar position to that at Maine Road now. A big club with lots of potential support. A history in a bygone age of winning trophies. A high degree of ambition to get back into the top flight. And a team built around a star (Steve Bull). Ten years on they have failed to win promotion, even though they’ve been in the play-offs a couple of times. Their star is no longer the player everyone talks about. In fact Wolves have been in the 1st Division longer than any other club.

Could this be City in 2007?

How do we ensure this doesn’t happen? Answers on a postcard to FC and FHL.

Paul Muschamp (


It has been widely reported today that City are ready to offer Gio Kinkladze a new four-year deal worth £10,000 a week, which would make him the highest paid player in the club’s history. Frank Clark commented that if the club wants the top players, it has to pay the going rate for them. However, even this level of income is only a fraction of what could be offered by the likes of Sampdoria and Fiorentina, who are also thought to be interested.

Paul Howarth (


I keep reading about all these poor “Faraway Blues” who don’t get to hear any live match commentary so I’ve decided to try to help. I’ve started using a chat program called “Onlive Traveller”. The program is free of charge and can be downloaded from It’s really impressive although it takes a while to load up. Anyway there are several places you can visit, one of which is Stonehenge and I intend to “broadcast” any game I’m not attending from this location if the demand is great enough. If anyone is interested in doing me this please let me know by e-mailing or leave a message on my (under construction) web page at My first attempt will be the away game at Norwich on Saturday 26th April which, on reflection, will also be my last for this campaign but at least we’ll be ready to go for next season. Just go to “Stonehenge” and look for “sikpupi” at around 3pm and we’ll take it from there. I’m sure I’ll probably be breaking s**tloads of copyright laws but who gives a toss?

Stay Blue – Steh


Full-time scores and scorers for Tuesday, April 15 1997

BARNSLEY                2-0    OLDHAM ATHLETIC           17,476  
Hendrie (44)
Marcelle (59)
BIRMINGHAM CITY         0-0    TRANMERE ROVERS           22,364  
CRYSTAL PALACE          2-0    STOKE CITY                11,382  
Dyer (6, 21)

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        43     27   12    4     94    50        93  
Barnsley                42     21   13    8     70    45        76  
Wolverhampton Wanderers 42     20    9   13     61    47        69  
Sheffield United        43     19   11   13     73    51        68  
Port Vale               43     17   15   11     56    50        66  
Ipswich Town            42     17   13   12     63    49        64  
Crystal Palace          42     17   12   13     71    44        63  
Tranmere Rovers         43     17   12   14     60    51        63  
Norwich City            43     17   11   15     63    63        62  
Portsmouth              42     18    8   16     53    48        62  
Queens Park Rangers     43     16   12   15     59    57        60  
Birmingham City         43     15   14   14     47    47        58  
Stoke City              43     16   10   17     47    55        58  
Charlton Athletic       42     15   10   17     49    60        55  
MANCHESTER CITY         41     15    9   17     53    53        54  
Reading                 42     14   12   16     52    59        54  
West Bromwich Albion    43     13   14   16     65    70        53  
Swindon Town            43     15    8   20     52    67        53  
Oxford United           43     14    9   20     57    65        51  
Huddersfield Town       43     12   13   18     46    60        49  
Bradford City           42     10   12   20     43    68        42  
Grimsby Town            41      9   12   20     52    75        39  
Oldham Athletic         43      9   12   22     48    64        39  
Southend United         43      8   15   20     40    76        39

Kieran Daly (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
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.

Kieran Daly,

Newsletter #289