Newsletter #361

This week the press have contented themselves with a little more speculation on Gio and Royle – getting a little more excited when Royle turned down Northern Ireland. Other than that, we have another book review, this time of the Pictorial History, some opinion and a Why Blue.

Next game, Portsmouth away, Saturday 10th January 1998


Manchester City chairman Francis Lee underlined his determination to hang onto Georgi Kinkladze today by vowing: “We’ve had no bid of £7million and if we did we’d refuse it.” Lee was reacting to speculation that the talented Georgian had been the subject of an increased bid from Everton. The fee was reported to be £7million and was an improvement on an approach a fortnight ago from Everton chief Howard Kendall, which was rejected by Lee from his holiday hotel in the Bahamas.

But Lee rubbished the suggestion that relegation-threatened City were going to hold an emergency board meeting on Friday to discuss “the supposed bid.” Lee, eager to reassure Kinkladze about his Maine Road future, added: “I get on fine with the player and if there was a bid for him of £7million I’d have to tell him. But there hasn’t been. We’ve turned down one inquiry for him, that’s all, and there wasn’t even a bid then. That’s all there’s been.”

Kinkladze’s future with City has been the subject of months of rumours but although the club are cash strapped in the transfer market the loss of the Georgian would cause uproar among their fans. The only way City boss Frank Clark could sell a deal to the fans would be a massive amount of money for Kinkladze – well over £10million – and then an influx of several quality players to rebuild the side. With City still in the FA Cup, and the prospect of a £500,000 pay day from TV money and gate receipts for the West Ham game in two and a half weeks, the belief is that the club would be crazy to sell their star player at present. If they can get past unpredictable West Ham, there is the prospect of another cash windfall in the fifth round. That would do wonders for the club’s empty coffers.

Klaus Petzel (


Joe Royle has stated that he no longer wants to be considered a candidate for the vacant Northern Ireland job. He has telephoned Jim Boyce, the Irish FA president, to say he had been honoured to be asked to put his name forward and had spent a long time considering his options.

Royle said that “he would miss the day-to-day involvement in club management.”

Vince Docherty (


Gio Kinkladze and Nicky Summerbee are to appear in court before Trafford magistrates on February 3rd charged with dangerous driving following the incident last October when Kinkladze wrote off his £150,000 Ferrari. Summerbee was driving a different car at the time. The fact that both are being charged with the two offences of “dangerous driving” and “driving without due care and attention” suggests that the rumours that the pair were racing may be true. Although neither of the charges is as serious as “reckless driving” and Kinkladze passed a breath test, he could still face a custodial sentence if found guilty. However, it is common for foreign nationals convicted of offences warranting a term in prison to be deported instead of serving their time in jail. Traffic police interviewed the two players in Trafford yesterday with the help of an interpreter for the Georgian. He was also served with official papers warning that if convicted he could face an extradition order (a routine procedure for any foreign national facing a charge which could carry a prison sentence).

Meanwhile, City have been denying the latest Kinkladze transfer rumour, namely that Everton were making a £7 million bid for the player, financed by the prospective sales of Gary Speed and Andy Hinchcliffe. Francis Lee said: “We’ve had no bid of £7 million and if we did we’d refuse it. I get on fine with the player and if there was a bid for him of £7 million I’d have to tell him. But there hasn’t been. We’ve turned down one enquiry for him, that’s all, and there wasn’t even a bid then. That’s all there’s been.” Even if a bid did come in from the Merseysiders, it looks likely to fail because according to Frank Clark “Gio is perfectly happy here with us and has said he does not want to move to Everton.” Nevertheless, it has been confirmed that Howard Kendall has asked to be kept informed of developments on Kinkladze’s situation at Maine Road.

Uwe R