Newsletter #360

A good result on Saturday but by no means a good performance. We have a couple of match reports, news, rumour, what’s happening on the literary front, and opinion.

This one reaches 1,805.

Next game, Portsmouth away, Saturday 10th January 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, F.A. Cup 3rd Round, Saturday 3rd January 1998

Through to the fourth round we went, but it should be said that the match was decided rather by who made the least mistakes, rather than by who was the better side. We lined up as follows:

        Brightwell        Wiekens          Shelia
Jeff Whitley        Brown         Brannan        Russell
        Dickov          Rösler        Kinkladze

I still fail to see the advantages of playing Russell as a left wing back. Frank explained it on the radio as an attempt to try to get more firepower into the team, but since he has played there Russell seems to have lost any threat to the opposing goal, although defensively he is not too bad. If we want someone to play on the left hand side and attack the penalty area I fail to see why Scully does not get picked.

The conditions were atrocious, there was an almost gale-force wind blowing against City in the first half and it made it almost impossible for City to get forward. Bradford looked threatening almost constantly as all they had to do was knock the ball vaguely towards our goal and the wind would make almost anything dangerous. Despite this though, and the fact that we looked very vulnerable at corners, Bradford failed to make this advantage pay dividends. Indeed City had one of the best of the early chances as Gio skipped down the left hand side of the area, lifted the ball delicately over the ‘keeper, but also wide of the far post.

City then took the lead, a defensive error by the Bradford centre back (he trod on the ball trying to pass it and fell over) allowed Uwe to stroll through, round the ‘keeper and calmly lift the ball into the net over the returning defenders.

Despite taking the lead City remained under pressure, and everyone was worried when captain Wiekens stretched to clear a ball and appeared to do some damage to his knee. He tried to carry on but couldn’t, and had to be replaced by Jim Whitley, who came on in midfield whilst Brannan went into defence.

Bradford then nearly equalised as City old-boy Beagrie cut inside and his shot was tipped onto one post by Wright before rolling along the line and wide of the other post.

City then went further ahead when Brown picked up a loose ball in midfield and his attempted chip was deflected over Walsh.

In the second half City were more on top and missed several good chances, many of which were prompted by the solid tackling and calm passing of Jim Whitley, who looked very at home in central midfield. City missed several chances before Bradford at the death missed about four clear chances, all within the six yard box, and all falling to substitute John McGinlay.

Sam Al-Hamdani (


This game took place in what the Met. Office would describe as a light breeze, i.e. 45 degree corner flags and hoofs upfield which almost ended up behind the hoofer; for “hoofer” read Ian Brightwell!

The sole change from last Sunday’s defeat was the introduction of Jeff Whitley for the lacklustre Vaughan; City playing what appeared to be a more orthodox back four, though it might have been three at the back! City once again started out on the attack but were soon pegged back by a combination of neat Bradford moves (many involving Beagrie) and the tremendous head wind. For all Bradford’s approach play, they never really threatened City’s defence, the one tangible fear was that the wind would put an intended cross away!

City looked quite disjointed during the first half hour, with only Russell posing problems for Bradford by running at the their defence. All this changed when Rösler tenaciously dispossessed Bradford’s last man, ran at the ‘keeper, rounded him and then blasted the ball home from around 18 yards; all this from a fairly acute angle, with two Bradford defenders between him and the goal. I’d have to say that the lead was pretty undeserved on the basis of the play; however, these things happen and before we knew it, we were two up. The second goal was in many ways similar to the first, this time Brown harrying a defender into a mistake, moving wide and crossing the ball, only for it to be deflected over the ‘keeper and into the net.

Bradford had a good chance to claw one back after neat work by Beagrie; his fierce shot was parried by Wright, came back off the post, rolled enticingly along the goal-line and was then blown into touch by the wind! During the last 5 minutes, Wiekens picked up a hamstring injury but played on, to be replaced by Jim Whitley in the second half, with Brannan moving into defence.

Bradford changed formation for the last 45 minutes, pushing almost 5 up front at times, which allowed them to create chances but left them very vulnerable at the back. Indeed, City grew significantly in confidence and put together several fine attacking moves which they singularly failed to finish off. In particular, Gio and Jeff W worked a lovely deadball move, with Jeff W touching the ball to Gio on the edge of the Bradford box; he then gave the Bradford defenders the come-on, whilst Jeff W ran round the back for Gio to calmly thread the ball through to him. Jeff W then hared into the box and cut the ball back to the totally unmarked Dickov who blasted the ball yards over the bar. Jeff’s brother Jim played a blinder and was unlucky not to score when a fierce shot came back off the upright. Bradford had several chances, which were more to do with weight of numbers and Brannan at the back, but managed to spurn them all.

Final score: City 2 Bradford 0.


Wright (7): Made one very good save and his kicking improved somewhat compared with Sunday, then again, it couldn’t have got any worse could it? One of the match’s ‘moments’ occurred when McGinlay was pulled up for harrassing Wright when he was attempting to kick upfield; McGinlay was duly punished by the award of a free kick to City; considering Wright’s dead ball kicking, this definitely penalised us! Lastly, why was Margetson on the bench and not playing if he was fit?
Brightwell (2): Simply atrocious, I almost lapsed into ignoring the game and counting just how many times Brightwell hoofed the ball up the byeline to a Bradford player. Brightwell is nothing if not consistent, he can absolutely be relied upon to give the ball away.
Wiekens (7): Usual dependable defending until injury struck.
Shelia (7): Looks a good, strong player and is gradually becoming aware that anything goes in the English first division!
Russell (8): Made some excellent runs up the byeline and at the heart of the Bradford back four.
Brown (8): Ran the midfield for us and provided options for other players. Would do well to note that a pass to Brightwell is only one step removed from loss of possession!
Gio (7): Made some neat runs but was guilty of being too greedy, wasting two separate opportunities to pass to Russell and Rösler who were unmarked in the box. Dare I say it, I honestly doubt that we’ll miss him as a team when he goes – ‘heresy’!
Whitley Jeff (6): Has the skill but seems to be somewhat naïve; he was frequently given the run around chasing the ball when he could have stifled the move by marking one player instead of space.
Whitley Jim (9): Excellent début (replacing Wiekens): calm, collected, skilful and showed everyone else how to receive the ball and pass it accurately, all in the blink of an eye.
Brannan (2): Simply awful once again. Watched helplessly as the midfield battle raged around him in the first half, then watched helplessly as players sped past him in defence in the second. Just how long can the team carry this guy?
Dickov (6): Missed a virtual sitter and didn’t really make much impact during the game.
Rösler (8): Great finish for his goal and held the line well, he looks like a different player to the one of recent seasons.
van Blerk (6): Journeyman display coming on for the exhausted Russell.
Greenacre: Only on for 2 minutes, replacing Brown (I think).



By David Anderson, PA Sport

Manchester City boss Frank Clark does not believe defeat against Bradford in tomorrow’s F.A. Cup third round at Maine Road will cost him his job. Former Everton boss Joe Royle is reportedly waiting in the wings to take over at the helm of the first division strugglers. Clark, though, denies that it is a make or break match for him, and insisted: “There’s nothing else at stake other than getting into the fourth round,” he said. “Speculation about my position is totally normal because of the position we are in the league. But I’ve been assured by the board that it’s pure invention.” Kit Symons is still sidelined by the hamstring injury which caused him to miss last weekend’s game against Nottingham Forest, while Richard Edghill and Lee Crooks are suspended.

Klaus Petzel (


There has been much speculation over the Christmas period regarding the futures of Frank Clark and Gio Kinkladze, but both seem increasingly likely to remain with City following Saturday’s somewhat fortuitous F.A. Cup win over Bradford City. Joe Royle is the man tipped to take over the Maine Road hot-seat if Clark leaves, but Royle is also wanted by the Northern Irish F.A. and has promised them an answer this week. Kinkladze was rumoured to be on his way to Newcastle in a £12 million valued deal which would have seen Peacock, Beresford and Gillespie plus £5 million being paid to City for the Georgian. However, his appearance in the side on Saturday leaves him cup-tied for this season’s competition which suggests that there is no deal in the pipeline.

Talking of the increasing pressure he was under prior to the Bradford clash, which according to some reports would be a make-or-break time for Clark, he said: “There’s nothing else at stake other than getting into the fourth round. Speculation about my position is totally normal because of the position we are in the league. But I’ve been assured by the board that it’s pure invention. Supporters are entitled to be disappointed at the position their football club is in, and they are more than entitled to express their disappointment. But there are people, inside and outside the club, that peddle stuff that is pure invention. I know I’m in the results business. Nobody needs to tell me about the realities of this profession. My own position has to be up for speculation – that’s the natural law of the game – but I will be concentrating my efforts 100% on trying to improve matters.” Regarding the Joe Royle rumours, Clark added: “I understand the speculation and it is inevitable that Joe Royle is in the frame. He is a good manager with a fine track record and was a popular player here. The position we are in for this club you expect criticism. I have no axe to grind about that. I accept criticism about me as a manger. But I can’t run the football club, run my life and prepare the team if every minute of the day I am worried about what is going to happen to me. I don’t think like that.”

Clark had more scathing words regarding the press, but now suspects that there is some sort of dirty tricks campaign being waged which involves people within the club as well as outsiders: “I have no objection to stories about me being under threat; in our position I could not expect anything else. What does annoy me is the tendency for people connected with this club, inside and outside, to keep trying to bring the club down at every opportunity. In the position we are in, it is inevitable there will be speculation about my job. I can accept it, but some of it is scurrilous and designed to cause the maximum damage to Manchester City. We have to try to ignore what has been written in some publications this week.” Several reports have claimed that unofficial approaches have been made to Royle through his former team-mate Dennis Tueart, now a director of City. However, Francis Lee returned from his annual holiday in the Caribbean last week and immediately dismissed the Royle link, saying: “The rumour about Joe Royle coming to City is completely untrue.” City’s directors are said to be having informal talks this week but the next board meeting isn’t scheduled until 15th January. A planned demonstration by banner-waving fans before Saturday’s game failed to materialise, which suggests that feelings amongst the fans in general are not as strong as people like Lee-out campaigner Dante Friend would have us believe.

Although the rumours about changes in the ownership of the club have died down a little over the last couple of weeks, there was speculation this weekend that Mike McDonald was set to make another bid for control of City. McDonald, until recently the Chairman of Sheffield United, was very nearly voted off their board at last week’s AGM, and was only saved by proxy votes. He is said to be unhappy with the situation at Bramall Lane and would certainly have the financial muscle to make a serious bid for City if he sold his shares in the Blades (which would be a prerequisite of such a move).

Returning to events on the field, Frank Clark admitted that City had been a bit lucky to beat Bradford on Saturday: “I think we were fortunate to come in at half time 2-0 up but we were due a bit of that. I will have a half decent Sunday for a change and it will give everybody at the club a lift. It does not really matter who we get (in the fourth round draw). We have to start preparing for a difficult game at Portsmouth next week.” The City manager was particularly happy with the performance of Jim Whitley, who replaced Gerard Wiekens when the City captain had to go off with a hamstring strain just after City’s opening goal: “I’m usually reluctant to talk about individuals but I thought Jim had an excellent début and his career has taken a major step forward with that performance. He was neat and tidy with his play and was unruffled in the centre of midfield; he can be well satisfied with that. His display was something special.” Jim’s younger brother Jeff, who started the game, was very pleased too: “It’s always been our dream to play in the same City side together. I was delighted for both of us, particularly Jim, who’s had to be patient to get his chance,” he said.

Clearly relieved with the result, Frank Clark said: “It was an important game to win after what’s gone on in the last few days. I don’t want to talk too much about my position after a win like that. I’d prefer to let the fans savour the victory. It’s a great feeling to go through and we can now look forward to the draw. However it doesn’t change the reality of the situation, we still need to go to Portsmouth and get some League points. It’s been a nice weekend for the fans and I don’t want to play that down. But for myself and the players on Monday morning it’s back to the League.”

Bradford boss Chris Kamara was bitterly disappointed at his side’s exit, saying: “Only two things came out of the cup tie – we are out and Frank Clark is a lucky manager. There is no doubt about that. Our ‘keeper hadn’t a save to make and they had two corners in the whole game. We’re disappointed because we gave them the goals. But I can’t be too hard on my players. We missed chances but we created a lot of them which is encouraging. Good luck to Frank. He’s a nice man and I hope this result stands him in good stead. But they were so jittery in the first half until they scored that it was frightening. If we had scored first the game would have been over.”

Sunday’s draw gave City a home tie against West Ham United on either Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th January, depending on whether or not the tie is selected for live TV coverage by ITV or BSkyB, who have already selected Sheffield Wednesday or Watford vs. Blackburn Rovers as their Monday night (26th January) game. West Ham are currently 8th in the Premiership, largely as a result of their very strong home form, but have in their ranks the Premier League’s leading scorer, John Hartson. The game will of course see the return of Steve Lomas to Maine Road; the energetic Ulsterman is currently captaining the Hammers, whose manager, Harry Redknapp, said of the draw: “City are a big club and there’ll be a full house. Georgi Kinkladze is a marvellous player but we’re going well. We’re eighth in the Premiership, into the quarter finals of the Coca Cola Cup and the next round of the FA Cup after a hard game against Emley on Saturday.” Frank Clark isn’t thinking about the F.A. Cup for the moment though: “The win over Bradford was a great boost for the club but the next round must go on the back burner. I am glad we went into the hat and we said that we would be satisfied with a home tie in the fourth round. You can’t ask for more than that. But I want us to concentrate on our next game and make sure we are ready to go to Portsmouth,” he said. City have never met West Ham in the F.A. Cup before, though the Blues did knock the Hammers out of the League Cup in 1984/85 with a 2-1 replay victory at Upton Park (Cunningham and Kinsey the scorers for City) after the 3rd Round game at Maine Road ended goal-less.

Transfer news: Gio Kinkladze is still a City player much to the disbelief of the press. The player has said that he is still very happy at the club and is currently looking for a new house in the Manchester area. However, the speculation can be expected to continue, particularly since Liverpool and Everton were both knocked out of the F.A. Cup at the weekend and won’t be concerned that Kinkladze is cup-tied if they were thinking of making a bid. There have been more loan deals arranged over the Christmas period: Alan Kernaghan will be staying with St. Johnstone until the end of the season, Paul Beesley has gone to Port Vale for a month, Gerry Creaney has joined Chesterfield for a month and Buster Phillips has been offered a loan spell at Scunthorpe United. Phillips and Beesley were not allowed to play in their sides’ F.A. Cup ties at the weekend but Creaney played and was substituted after an hour of Chesterfield’s 0-0 draw against Brentford.

Team news: Kit Symons looks set to miss his return to Portsmouth on Saturday, as does Lee Bradbury who along with Kevin Horlock, are said to be “some way off” a return to the first team. Gerard Wiekens may have recovered from a slight hamstring strain as he was brought off before if could worsen on Saturday, and Tony Vaughan has recovered from a bout of concussion after a clash of heads in the Nottingham Forest game. Richard Edghill has served his two-match suspension and is now eligible for a return to the first team.

Other snippets: City’s youth team play Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road tomorrow (Tuesday) in the 3rd Round of the F.A. Youth Cup, and Barry Pointon has been brought in from Everton as a Recruitment Officer within the youth development team at City. His main rôle will be to liase with scouts, organise their schedules and follow up leads on players who have been targeted as possible signings.

Paul Howarth (


Make of these what you will, I merely pass them on:

Heard on the grapevine that if Stockport County gain promotion to the Premier League, they will be groundsharing at Maine Road! Sounds a little unlikely to me, maybe a ground swap would be more appropriate!

I also heard that one of City’s out-of-favour players is reported as ‘hanging on in there’ as it’s only a matter of time before FC is dismissed!



If any fans would like to be placed on a database for merchandise and other mail outs from Manchester City, could they please email with your full postal address, telephone number and date of birth. If you are already a season ticket holder or member, or you have received a mail order catalogue over the past year, this is not necessary, as you are already on our database.

Steve Sayer, Marketing Officer – MCFC (


Manchester United Ruined My Life…
As mentioned in previous McVittees, the new year will see the publication of Manchester United Ruined My Life, the autobiography of film producer and writer Colin Schindler. It tells the story of his Manchester upbringing as a Blue in the shadow of the Evil Empire. Colin Schindler, together with the ubiquitous Howard Davies and others, was interviewed in The Times of 17th November. The text is available at the Times’ web site, although you will first have to register (no charge).


But not mine…
Nice line from the M.E.N. by Rob Gretton, manager of the pop group New Order and owner of Manchester’s Hacienda nightclub. Apparently he was asked to participate in a television programme for the BBC called Manchester United Ruined My Life, but declined, saying that he didn’t want to appear a bitter Blue, and: “Anyway, it’s City that ruined my life, not United.”

Invisible Wizard
The recently re-published Football Wizard: The Story of Billy Meredith, John Harding’s superb biography of City’s first truly great player, will not be on sale at the club’s shops. Darren Booth, retail manager (and son of Tommy), was quoted recently in the M.E.N. denying that the book’s red cover was to blame. “The reason we’re not stocking the book is because we don’t believe there is a demand for it. Although Billy Meredith was an illustrious player in his day, there aren’t that many of today’s City fans who will remember him.” The book has been re-published by Robson Books at £17.99 and would make a fine addition to any Blue library (incidentally, the designer of the book’s cover, a certain David Butler, is not yours truly. At least I don’t think he is). As for the red cover, well he was Welsh…

Ronald Crowther
Lost in amongst the tributes to the late Billy Bremner was an obituary for the Daily Mail football writer, Ronald Crowther, who died in early December. As the Mail’s chief northern soccer reporter, Crowther was a frequent visitor to Maine Road and most of the reports on City’s big games throughout the sixties and seventies carry his byeline. He was 81.

David Butler (


Just to confirm the McVittee boys (and girls) are now fully paid up members of the Euronet 98 competition in Reading. The cheque has been cashed and the team accepted.

Can all those who are interested in representing the Blues in this year’s competition, please, please try to be available for the tournament (I don’t want to be in the situation where we can’t raise a team, even though we’ve had 9 months notice).

P.S. Happy new year.

P.P.S. Bluddy ‘ell 4th round of the Cup!

Martin Ford (


Whilst it is a rarity indeed for me to have anything to add to these pages (being imprisoned in the good ole US of bloody A… a.k.a. the self-smug Galapagos Island of Sport, doesn’t help), I did get my annual Christmas opportunity, last week, to catch up with the goings on back home.

Anyway, my parents now live in Blackpool, so that is where we were staying. The first depressing thing I came across was a brand new JD superstore, in which only the single home City kit could be found for us more enlightened kind, yet for the Salford bandwagon jumpers and fairweather faithful, there was a choice of seven different current strips, not to mention a zillion other kinds of paraphenalia.

Even when we got over to Manchester and stopped in the City store at the Arndale, amongst other places, I still didn’t see any of the “bumble bee” kits. What’s the point in manufacturing extra kits if you’re not gonna flog ’em to fans? Also, concerning bad business, the one match that I did get to attend was the Forest match and stood in the queue for an utter eternity before getting my tickets. We turned up early on matchday and though the queues were only about 10 deep we still had to stand there, freezing our blue moons off, for a seemingly endless duration. I checked my watch a couple of times and noted that some of the customers in front of us were actually taking over 15 minutes to get served. How could the simple task of getting tickets be such a laborious one? Several people just gave up with the wait and drifted off in disgust. Anyway, once inside the ground, I found myself in a position that I have felt many times over the last few years, concerning City. One of interest yet semi-detatchment at the goings on, on the pitch suddenly giving way to the shouting, screaming, lividly complaining, totally absorbed person of my yesteryear. All this conversion takes is a near miss or a seemingly bad call by the referee (in this case it was the turning down of a penalty).

As I’ve been resident in the Evil Empire of which dear old Blighty still seems to be eager to become the 51st State of, for over a decade now, I hardly ever get to see City anymore, but whenever I do I am always happy to know just how easily caught up, after just a few short minutes, in the feelings of old that I get.

Anyway, regarding that which unfolded in front of me-totally and utterly unacceptable! We were nothing but a defensive comedy of errors out there, and apart from those moments which were commandeered entirely by Gio, we were utterly clueless going forward. Dickov (despite a goal which should have been an O.G.) and Russell had no idea what they were doing; the attack would break up at their feet time and time again. Rösler was utterly stranded and alone (one up front for home matches!?) and as for Brannen, hmm, looks like he must be carrying photos of FC in bed with a prostitute or something. I also found myself disagreeing with those around me who thought Brownie had a good match. Certainly he should not have been the man brought off, but to say that he actually played well was stretching it IMO. He was lunging around like a lunatic (both he and Dickov were proving that whilst 100% effort is commendable, it doesn’t always translate to having a good game). The first penalty was stupidity of the first order, on his part, and his ball distribution throughout the match was very poor indeed. Still, I did admire his spirit, although the comparisons that I heard with Keane and Batty seemed to be taking it a bit far.

The crowd was fantastic, that one goes without saying, but how much longer will this be the case? If Gio does go (which might even have happened by the time you are reading this) what else have all those season ticket holders got to keep them back next year? I’ve never seen a team so utterly dependent upon, and therefore pathetic without one player… it’s 20 times worse than the days when Trevor Francis showed his worth every third week, between niggling injuries.

So anyway, whatever happens, it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of clearing out and, I’m afraid to say, it seems a lot more than the FL/FC combination have to offer us. In saying that, you don’t know just how much I long to be a regular part of the sordid mess again. Still, I suppose that’s the City mentality for yer innit?

Happy new year to each and all, Steve O’Brien (


There have been a lot of contributions recently urging FHL to dispose of the services of FC, but very little comment as far as I can see on who the worthy successor should be. Joe Royle appears to be the main candidate as far as the press are concerned, but I have my worries about him for the long term. I believe he would do a very similar job to Clark in that he would give a much needed boost on his arrival, but that we would then slump down again and be consigned to mid-table mediocrity on a permanent basis in the First Division. Having had ample opportunity to reflect over the Christmas period, and also having been under the overpowering influence of the fantastic new Lemsip Powerplus, I have below compiled my own list of worthy contenders for the post, should it become available.

1. Nigel Clough

It worries me that there have been these undercurrents and whispers throughout the season about Nigel Clough moving into managerial/coaching circles. Is it pure lunacy for me to think that should FC and his entire backroom staff be ejected from Maine Road that FHL would fill the temporary gap with the caretaker skills of Clough Junior at the helm? This is the man that appointed Gingernut remember. He doesn’t seem to have much else to do at the moment, and as we can’t seem to get rid of Clough Jnr. for love nor money, I suspect he has a secret brief from FHL to stay put so that he can become our player manager. We already have him on a contract for the next 50 years, or so it seems, and his annual wage bill already equates to that of many managers in the Premiership.

2. Nigel and Brian.

Or how about this – a Clough double act! It was actually my big hope before Nigel signed for City that we would acquire Brian Clough for manager after FHL arrived. Imagine my delight when I saw the headlines of ‘Clough goes to City’. Imagine my disgust when it turned out to be his donkey son instead of the elder statesman himself! However, could we do worse than Brian managing team affairs and Nigel handling the coaching side? It would be a novel approach – I don’t know of any father and son partnerships on the managerial side at other clubs, and anyway, we need some sort of big shakeup. City should be pushing this sort of innovative management style, as opposed to our traditional ‘no management style’, and I am sure Clough senior would be able to attract a number of worthy players to our doors.

3. Jack Charlton.

Would Big Jack be the ‘New Malcolm Allison’ that we need with his stylish outfits of flat cap and fishing waders and his affable manner towards the press?! He doesn’t seem to get on with Brother Bobby and wouldn’t it be brilliant to have the two of them involved with rival clubs in the same city? Surely the bait of having the opportunity to put the wind up his brother would be enough to get him out of retirement, and I’m sure some good fishing waters could be found near Maine Road for him to enjoy his pastimes. I understand he now lives in Ireland, but if the rumours are true that FC only visits the club on a Friday, then Jack could be in his office at Maine Road for two days of the week and still outdo him.

4. Niall Quinn

Would the offer of a player-manager position be enough to lure the big man back to Maine Road? Reidy’s City B Team are going great guns at Sunderland – even Summerbee stands a good chance of playing in the Premiership again next season – wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth for his detractors (me included) in the City ranks? Quinny must have learnt a lot there as he has been out injured so much, and he also seems to have a good head on his shoulders in interviews. He was always loyal to the City cause and could still probably do us a few favours in front of goal. If Sunderland get back in the Premiership then he might struggle to keep his place, à la McGinlay at Bolton, so he might be looking for that move into management.

This was going to be a tongue in cheek piece when I first thought about it, but the more I look at the suggestions above, the less idiotic they seem, given the dross that have managed MCFC over the last few years. We couldn’t do any worse than Ball, and although I was prepared to give FC the benefit of the doubt at the start of the season when things weren’t going very well, I am now beginning to share the worries of other Blues that he is on a permanent downward spiral. I have the words of a Forest-supporting friend of mine still ringing in my ears from when I phoned him to gloat over the capture of Clark. He told me that it was the worst decision we could have made as although Clark did well at the start (Clough’s influence still lingering?) at the City Ground, the supporters soon discovered that tactically he was the most inept manager they had ever seen. The phrase ‘tactically inept’ seems to sum up everything about our season so far! However, if we think FC is the man for the job (and somebody must have done in order to sign him up) and he says it will take five years, then let’s give him five years, forgive him whatever happens in between, and see where we stand at the end of it. If only we had a time machine…

One other piece of opinion whislt I think of it. If I remember rightly, our last accounts that were published showed an increase in staff of around 35 people. This must have seen a big hike in the wage bill to take all of these folk on. Conversely, it appears from the size of our massive list of players that we have around 35 players too many on the books. My suggestion? Get these so called professional footballers doing other jobs around Maine Road, rather than doing nothing week in week out. Surely we could use our surplus players to sell pies, man the ticket office at busy times, sell programmes, help out in the club shop and sweep up after matches. Ian Brightwell could direct traffic in the car park, though hopefully not in the same fashion he directs passes up the wing! Everybody should be mucking in during these times of crisis, so don’t be suprised if you see Tony Vaughan doing a bit of stewarding in the near future!

Best wishes for 1998 to all Blues everywhere!

Mark Stangroom – a.k.a. ‘the Lollipop Lord’ (


It seems we are all starting to think that Frank Clark’s reign at Maine Rd should be brought to an end, but do we really want Joe Royle? He is yet another manager who was sacked from his previous position because he couldn’t motivate the team and was taking them into a relegation position. I’m sure his appointment would lead to an initial change in City’s form but, as with FC, it wouldn’t last. It’s time City approached a manager who is already with a club and not one who is available because he was sacked from his previous club. Joe Kinnear is the man for me. He has kept Wimbledon in the Premiership against all the odds, he knows how to manage on a tight budget (a reality for City managers these days), he buys well, his teams have fighting spirit, and he is not the long ball merchant that most people would have you believe he is. Would he come? The main problem is getting permission to approach him, but once we’ve got that I’m sure he could be persuaded to join us. We have our own stadium and huge crowds which eclipse Wimbledon’s. Kinnear is also worried about his future with Wimbledon now the Norwegians are involved, and so he may think the time is right for a move.

Charles Pollitt (


I don’t know if it is a premature mid-life crisis or not, but last summer, when my temporary job in Norway finished, I decided to come and live in England for a while. I have been to every City game so far this season, and hope to be able to go to every game – home and away – for the rest of the season. I was hoping to get a job here in England as a librarian, but it proved more difficult than I had thought. It would be easier for me to get a job if I knew a little bit more about computers.. So, I am hoping that one of you fellow MCIVTAers out there can help me out. I am looking for someone who could teach me to set up a computer and make web pages. I am not expecting anyone to do it for free. So, if anyone thinks that they are able to help me out, get in touch with me at the following address:

Gier Ove Neset
3 Ramillies Avenue
Cheadle Hulme
Tel 0161-485-3511


Should be in the next issue.


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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.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #360