Newsletter #321

Another disappointing result, and varying opinions on what to make of it from people who were actually there: we have a match report and 3 match views. The latest news is that Greenacre has gone on loan to Cardiff (surely a wise move to build up his experience) and City have not furthered their interest in the Estonian trialist. We’ve Part II of ‘City on Tour’; a way of sharing the pain! There’s also opinion and an alternative Why Blue! Talking of Why Blues, I’m clean out of them so if someone else cares to pen theirs, now would be a good time.

This one reaches 1,526, declining numbers – perhaps an indicator of the depression setting in – or more likely the 177 mails that Stephen Bolton has to wade through after returning from his hols!

Next game, Tranmere Rovers at home, Friday 22nd August 1997


SUNDERLAND vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Friday 15th August 1997

I have now been to City’s first two league games at Maine Road and Sunderland’s “Stadium of Light” and thought that I should give my thoughts on those games and the current City squad.

At the Portsmouth game the players seemed very keen to please the sell-out crowd and perhaps were a little too nervous to apply themselves properly. A draw was a fair result and in terms of build-up play our first goal was as good as any other scored that day by anyone in England.

The only thing that I could not understand in that game was the reaction of our supporters when the players put together more than half a dozen passes. At stages the team wanted to pass the ball patiently in defence and midfield, waiting for an opportunity, but the crowd firstly went quiet and then started to boo the players.

It was a long journey to Sunderland’s fantastic new stadium and we were obviously very aware of the possible embarrassment awaiting us, following the game at Blackpool and with Sunderland wanting to win their first game at the new stadium. The best thing about the Stadium of Light is the acoustics – the noise was deafening.

City started the game well without being threatening to Sunderland. We managed to get through 15 minutes without conceding a goal and for me that fact was very encouraging. Kernaghan had been booked early on for nothing really – I think that the referee wanted to stamp his authority on the game in the early stages.

The Sunderland goal was marginally against the run of play at the time. Tony Vaughan attempted a back pass that was a good twenty yards off target and the ball fell right at Niall’s feet – he couldn’t fail to score with only Margetson to beat and well out of position, having tried his best to collect the wayward pass.

Shortly after the goal Kernaghan was given his second yellow card for a bad tackle that deserved a booking. Having said that, the ball had actually quite cleary gone out of play shortly before the tackle and the linesman failed to raise his flag.

City battled hard and the introduction of Van Blerk for Rösler was perhaps the obvious move for the Manager to take. Later on in the game (half time I think?) Summerbee came on for Brannan and did very well. City’s fans really got behind the team after half time and you could see them putting in that little extra effort for the amassed fans (official figures say there were only 3,000 City fans there, but I think it was more like 5,000, with us taking up the whole end of the ground). Just before our goal Gio hit the bar with a free kick from just outside the 18 yard box.

The penalty was out of the blue – City had been soaking up attack after attack from Sunderland and they did very well not to concede again atfer some top-class saves from Margetson. Gio picked the ball up just outside the 18 yard box to the right of the goal – at that stage FC had clearly told him to sit out wide and see if anything could be created. He drove the ball close to the by-line and cut inside to be brought down by Sunderland’s captain.

Anyone who tries to tackle him in that type of situation is almost certainly giving away a penalty. The Sunderland fans seemed to think that he dived, but I was only about 20 yards away and he was clearly fouled. Gio slotted the penalty home in his usual confident fashion and came straight over to the fans to celebrate with us. Shortly after, Summerbee shot just over and the game then turned against us.

For the next ten minutes the boys worked really hard, with Sunderland desperate to win the game and attacking with some force. They eventually got two goals late on and won the game after the City players clearly tired and “ran out of steam”. Make no mistake, Sunderland are by no means a good team and I am sure that with 11 men City would at least have earned a point from this fixture,

Comments on the squad:

Wright – when will he be fit? City miss his presence.
Margetson – by far City’s man of the match at Sunderland but spills the ball too easily.
Kernagham – a good defender in this division, should be given a chance.
Symons – quite clearly carrying an injury and lacks pace.
Brightwell – steady but passing poor and getting caught for pace more often.
Vaughan – looks better at centre half but hard tackler in any position. Lost concentration with the back pass.
Beesley – great in the air but can’t run.
Van Blerk – short of match practice but looks a good attacking full back.
Summerbee – has done very well when introduced, why isn’t he starting?
Brannan – hasn’t got much.
Horlock – tries very hard but is he playing out of position?
Kinkladze – outstanding at Sunderland (even tackled a few times) but quiet against Portsmouth.
Wiekens – once he adapts to the pace of the game will be one of the top players in Division One.
Rösler – tried very hard in both games, looks sharp.
Bradbury – holds the ball up well and very strong but has yet to show he can score regular goals.

Overall, not a bad start considering the results. Still optimistic.

Joel Adams (


SUNDERLAND vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Friday 15th August 1997

A near-capacity crowd of 38,827 witnessed the first ever league game at Sunderland’s excellent new Stadium of Light, against our boys in blue. The ground is very similar to the Swamp actually, with the stands on all four sides joining up neatly and with an extra tier at one of the sides. If the extra tier was continued around the other three sides (which is an option left open by the design), the capacity would rise to 63,000. As with Derby’s first game at their new stadium earlier in the week, there were teething troubles – the kick-off had to be delayed until 8:00pm to allow all of the fans to get in. When the game did eventually get started, there was a tremendous atmosphere, both sets of fans making lots of noise. It was nice to see Niall Quinn get such a good reception from the City fans too – nice to see him acknowledge us as well. Pity he went on to score against us – he never managed to score against previous club Arsenal when he was playing for us!

With Kit Symons back from injury, City lined up as follows:

Brightwell Kernaghan Symons Vaughan
Brannan Wiekens Kinkladze Horlock
Bradbury R