Newsletter #294

I was thinking of holding this one over ’til Tuesday as many of you out there will not have had access to your email due to the holiday. However, there have been enough contributions to make it a decent issue, and it’s always good to keep it as topical as possible. We have 3 match reports, quite a bit of news, the result of the March Player of the Month, and a short Why Blue.

There was such a great atmosphere at Maine Road on Saturday that hopefully more of you will want to share your thoughts and views on the day – please send ’em on in for Thursday’s issue.

Next game, Barnsley away, Gary Fleming Testimonial, Wednesday 7th May


MANCHESTER CITY vs. READING, Saturday 3rd May 1997

It was an end of season game, which was only moved to Saturday because the result was so meaningless. The best player on either side who everyone had come to see wasn’t even playing. Why then did both sides provide an excellent match and a hatful of chances and goals? City lined up a 3-5-3 formation, without the almighty, much to everyone’s disappointment, after his injury against England, which looked like the strain he got against Middlesbrough. The actual team was:

	Brightwell	Symons		Brannan
Summerbee     Crooks    Whitley    McGoldrick   Horlock
		Rösler		Dickov

Reading took an early lead through a deflected goal by Caskey, and were two nil up within twenty minutes after Symons apparently touched in after a goalmouth scramble. However, as the match itself had little to do with everyone’s reasons for visiting, it failed to do much to discourage what was, for a home match, a very good atmosphere with Gio’s name resounding around the ground throughout the first half. However, after Dickov swivelled on a knock down from a corner everything looked a lot brighter; beforehand everyone had been worrying that City were going to try to impress Gio enormously by getting an absolute thrashing.

City began to get into the game more and more as their possession began to turn into chances. After the interval City began to string together more and more passes. Summerbee came into the game and started running Gio-like at massed defenders. Eventually the pressure told and the Reading ‘keeper could only parry a shot into Uwe’s path, and he thumped it home gratefully. Then from a free kick he hit the bar and about six other City players watched it carefully as it bounced down in front of the line and Heaney thumped in the rebound. One had to ask why so many City players were able to stand in front of the goal and wait for the ball to come back to them without a single Reading defender being within ten yards. Chances came and went, Dickov miscuing wildly, Summerbee flashing a shot past the post and Rösler heading into the ‘keeper’s arms.

Final score: City 3 Reading 2

The atmosphere failed to ignite in the way that most would at this sort of match though, because everyone was far too worried about whether Gio would stay. His name was chanted almost throughout, although it was good that there were other chants as well, so that those on the pitch didn’t feel too left out.

Eventually the match, and the season, finished, and despite about ten or twenty yobs running on to the pitch we saw the team come out. About half the Reading fans stayed around as well to see them, and this, as well as the great reception that he got at the England game, brought home just how popular Gio is throughout the country. He was one of the last to come out of the tunnel and he got the biggest cheer of the day as he did. As the team came round to great applause, his name rang out and he was very emotional, shedding a few tears as he passed the Kippax; Richard Money went over to comfort him. There was nothing more that we could have done to let him know how much we wanted him to stay. Eventually they finished their lap of honour and everyone began to drift away, just hoping that it wasn’t going to be the last time he came out on to the Maine Road pitch.

Sam Al-Hamdani (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. READING, Saturday 3rd May 1997

Or: City vs. the combined forces of Reading and Mr P. Rejer. (Ref)

City: Margetson, Brightwell, Symons, Brannan, Horlock, Crooks, Summerbee, McGoldrick, Whitley (Heaney 59 min), Dickov (Clough 90 min), R