Newsletter #292

Although this issue carries two good match reports, probably the most important article is the translation of the Gio letter. Many people asked for this as they wanted to know what they were signing – a sad age we live in 8-)). All the info on how to download the letter was in MCIVTA 291 and more help can be had from Clive Tysoe (see below). Other than that, we have some opinion and a Why Blue.

A further bit of news is that Gary James, one half of the authorship of The Pride of Manchester (Manchester Derby bible) is putting the finishing touches to a mammoth tome (c. 400 pages) entitled ‘Manchester – The Greatest City’ (a history of MCFC). This was advertised in the programme and can be reserved – publication date Xmas. Doubtless more on this will appear in CITY etc. over the next few issues.

Next game, Reading at home, Saturday 3rd May 1997


NORWICH CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Friday 25th April 1997

Another good turn-out of Blues (around 2,500) – despite the closure of both the M1 and M6 during the day – saw some typical end-of-season fare from City and Norwich, both without a number of their regular forward players. When the City team was announced, there were cheers for the return of Jeff Whitley at number 10, until it dawned on everyone that the Maestro Kinkladze was not playing. Thankfully the appearance of Nigel Clough and Alan Kernaghan (on the bench) in City’s squad was not greeted with jeers; with three at the back and just Atkinson as an out-and-out attacker, City packed the midfield with the following line-up:

   Brightwell    Symons    Brannan
Summerbee   McGoldrick  Crooks  Horlock
       Jeff Whitley    Clough

This formation certainly made City’s defence more solid-looking, especially against a young and inexperienced Norwich attack, with McGoldrick and Crooks winning lots of the ball in midfield before the Blues’ back three were needed. However, City’s goalscoring problems were apparent once again, with Atkinson regularly caught offside when trying to get on the end of Clough’s defence-splitting through balls. Clough set up City’s best chance of the first half, winning the ball just inside his own half and making a good run towards goal, supported by Atkinson. With only one defender and the goalkeeper to beat, it really should have been 1-0 but Atkinson’s first touch when he received the ball took him a bit wide and he fired his shot just past the post from 15 yards. Summerbee went close with a free kick and there were a few goalmouth scrambles but nothing to trouble Andy Marshall in the Norwich goal. At the other end, the Canaries had one chance of note, a free header from 12 yards which was thankfully directed straight at Margetson.

The home side started the second period brightly, winning a string of corners which were dealt with by the City defence, Margetson often electing to punch the ball clear. The City ‘keeper did have to make one good save though, and a really good save it was too, diving low to his right to push a goal-bound effort from Karl Simpson past the post midway through the second half. City should have scored soon afterwards when Clough followed up a goalmouth scramble and seemed certain to score but somehow his shot was cleared off the line. Dickov replaced Clough for the last 10 minutes but didn’t really get a chance to make an impression. The home side finished quite strongly but the game had a look of 0-0 about it from early on.

The City fans sporadically chanted “Georgi’s got to stay” and other things in a similar vein, no doubt hoping to persuade the resident superstar to stay at Maine Road. It would probably have made a bigger impression if these positive messages hadn’t been interrupted by miscellaneous Munich/Dortmund chants. Anyway, we’ll need more than just Gio to mount a serious promotion challenge next season, judging by the evidence of the last few games. Atkinson isn’t cut out for the lone striker r