Newsletter #371

Two days to go to another 6 pointer, made all the more important by Tranmere winning 3-0 against Swindon on Tuesday and dumping us into the bottom three – we’re in deep doo doo and it’s about time the team started shovelling!

Claudio Avrili’s views on FC have sparked a flurry of views on how to run the club. We’ve also got a couple of late inputs on the Norwich game, reviews of the written word, a Why Blue from about as far from Manchester as you can get and still be on Planet Earth, and other good stuff.

Unless Ashley’s falling behind with his day job, I’ll be compiling Monday evening’s edition then handing him the Ed’s chair again.

Read on …

Next game, Bury home, Saturday 14th February 1998


I decided to hold this report back ’til after the Tranmere/Swindon game to see whether or not these 2 dropped points (along with the 2 dropped points from each of our 2 previous games) would put us in the bottom 3. Well, they have as Tranmere beat Swindon 3-0 to leapfrog over us.

Despite the fact that we should have been 5-0 up at 88 minutes, we should have lost this game – as Norwich missed 3 clear chances in the last 2 minutes (memories of Birmingham or Charlton) and Edghill made an excellent goalline clearance from a rasping free kick bound for the bottom corner. That would really have been what City deserved, to give them yet another kick in the pants (15th this season?) as they have got to start beating teams like this (not just beating them either, we should be able to put crap like Norwich away by at least 3 goals).

As for the game, City had total possession for the first half and did not score. They did not create that many chances but the ones they did were gilt edged. Crooks had a volley from the edge of the box after a neat cross by Russell. He put it wide. Edghill cut inside and sent Bradbury in on a 50-50 scuffle with the ‘keeper. It broke loose for an open goal for Rösler (well he had to lift it over the prostrate ‘keeper and Bradbury). He put it in the back of the stand. Bradbury got on the end of a long ball and had a split second to half volley it anywhere in the goal. He put it straight at the ‘keeper from near the penalty spot. Meanwhile, Kinkladze was busy getting kicked to death by some blond haired git of a full back; but he managed to get one of their midfielders sent off for spitting after he had run into him and cut his lip/nose. Gio went down for attention at least 4 times during the game before being stretchered off. Each time it looked like a problem with the same ankle (the one that was troubling him against West Ham). I’ve had ankle ligament damage myself and it is a complete b*****d to get right again – it only needs a slight knock and it’s off again. So don’t be surprised to see Gio absent in the next few weeks as he isn’t fully fit and is obviously carrying an ankle problem.

Second half: surely it’s only a matter of time until we score (famous last words!)! The two best open goals both fell to Rösler. Both came from very neat 1-2’s involving Russell. The first he put across himself and the ball fell to Rösler with the whole goal unattended and open. He went for the far post. He missed. The second was a low cross from van Blerk (who with Jim W replaced GK and Brown, much to the annoyance of the fans). He put it on a plate for Rösler. He miskicked. He missed. T**t.

In both instances, Bradbury was at the far post unmarked. Whether he would have scored or not is another matter.

Tskhadadze played well (except for one blunder in the first half when their winger got a ricochet and luckily got behind him). I have to admit that Symons had a bit of a stormer in the first half – and played very well indeed in trying to get forward. So fair’s fair as I’ve slagged him uncontrollably in the past.

As for FC. We had no attacking options on the bench. Wouldn’t it have been nice to take off one of our centre backs (5 marking 2) after the sending off and bring on an extra attacker? But then again, our best attacking substitute option is playing for Stoke (apparently he’s playing crap as well – good to see a City player doing his bit for the club!). Presumably, Beesley was there as cover for Tskhadadze if he wasn’t fit. So why have van Blerk as well?

Marks out of 10:

Wright (7): nothing to do. Kicking a bit better, although he made a complete hash of one bouncing Tskhadadze backpass. Someone please tell the Georgian quick!
Edghill (6): defensively solid. Totally crap going forward. Couldn’t pass wind. If we want attacking options down the right – then use a right winger who acts like an attacker – not like a defender in attack. Edghill is a right full back.
Brightwell (6): Played OK. Didn’t need him in defence though. Why was he on the pitch? Offers nothing else other than defence in a team overloaded with defenders against 10 (crap) men!
Symons (7): Same applies. Better than usual (attempting) to go forward though.
Tskhadadze (8): I’ll give him 8 as he will obviously replace one of the above 2 in the team when the mighty Shelia returns. Looked very composed on the ball. Didn’t hoof it once!
Russell (7): Best game going forward for a while. Got round the back several times. Why not try him in his position up front?
Brown (7): Dickov syndrome. Plays well but doesn’t look like scoring. Very solid though, but I’m a bit worried about having him and Wiekens in central midfield together as Wiekens will not get in with the 2 Georgians at the back.
Gio (7): carrying an injury. Beat his first 2 men with ease but was constantly tackled/fouled by the third. No options ahead of him.
Crooks (7): Tried hard, but again seems to be very defensively minded. Hit a few good long passes (not hoofs) though.
Bradbury (5): Off the pace. Too similar to Rösler in playing style. Not aggressive enough. Ducked out of headers.
Rösler (2): Total and utter crap. Missed a hatful of sitters. Fell about a lot. Ducked out of headers.

Subs: Both OK. Van Blerk nearly killed one of their players with an absolute rocket of a shot straight to the bollocks.

The fans (10): I have to admit I haven’t laughed so much in ages at some of the songs. I was right at the back in amongst the Frank Clark lookalikes (there’s only 10 Frank Clarks). The old guy who gives the balloons out must have been late for the KO – so they did it at half time. When the referee stopped the game to send the players over to pop the balloons was really funny, as was the occasion when the second batch blew onto the pitch and “tackled” Craig Russell! Other highlights included “how wide do you want the goals” at Rösler, “s**t ground nice pies” and various chants aimed at Delia Smith (her food tastes like someone s**t in it – bring on 2 fat ladies!).

There was a general stunned silence at the end that we didn’t beat this bunch of yokels. We are now in the bottom 3. We have a “hard” last few games (Wolves etc.) – so the points need to be gained in the next few games to avoid a mass panic at the end. Bury, Ipswich, Swindon, Reading, Oxford, Stockport – they’re all crap. 18 points please! I’ve got 10 quid riding on the fact that we don’t finish in the bottom 8!

David Johnson (


I know this is some time after the game, but I just thought I’d add my thoughts on the Norwich match.

Basically, I thought we actually played rather well. I’ve not seen many matches this season, being exiled out in the Far East Anglia; there aren’t exactly many local games that I can get to. So I wait all season for the same game in the fixture list, only to get the same result every time (it’s really quite embarrassing to think that if Edghill hadn’t cleared the pass-back free kick off the line, we would have been faced with Norwich’s first ever double over us!).

Anyway, having seen a couple of games over Christmas, I thought we showed a lot more composure on Saturday. Unlike the Forest game at Maine Road (how did we score 2 goals?) we seemed to keep possession well in midfield. We also seemed to pass to our own players, and often more than just once before giving the ball away. The team seemed to actually play well together, and most of the time actually looked like they had an idea what they were supposed to be doing. I thought Crooks, Brown and the Georgians played particularly well, and I’m sure I saw Brightwell pass to a player in laser blue not once, but twice!

However, we do need a striker. Uwe really is as poor as people have made out in recent MCIVTAs, and although there weren’t loads of chances, some of the ones that Rösler did get were pretty straightforward. Maybe he needs to throw his boots away again…

I have to say, though, that the support was fantastic. I dragged my lass (a part-time Preston fan!) along to the game, and I do believe I saw the early stages of blue fever! After the game she was even singing City ’til I die, in the pub! There goes another person’s sanity… once you’re hooked, there’s no way out! It’s a pity that the Norwich fans are such tossers, though. I have never seen such a sad bunch when they cheered as Gio was stretchered off. It’s obviously a Norwich thing though, to try to incite a riot, as I also went to the Stockport County game at Carrow Road, and when Darren Eadie equalised, he ran past the away fans really slowly, waving at them. I put it down to the isolation of living in East Anglia (which other team in the country has ‘local’ rivals that are over 50 miles away?).

Anyway, see you all again next season!

I know I am… I’m sure I am… Andy Lamb (


Tuesday 10th February

It looks as though our most implausible excuse for being the most implausible excuse for a football team is about to be swept away from under us! No more will we be able to blame the gypsy curse allegedly put on the site by some bitter old bag who was annoyed at us. And just because we kicked her out of her home so we could build a footy ground! Some people have just got their priorities all wrong… Sources close to the club tell me that, barring the final rubber stamping of the deal, the Blues will be off to Eastlands immediately after the Commonwealth Games. We’ll be leaving behind 75 years of disappointment (give or take 10 or so when we were apparently quite good. Although I’ve only read about those and I’m always suspicious that someone’s doctored the history books to give us something to talk about), tradition, glory, joy, despair and, er, laughing-stockyness, with barely a glance over our shoulders to say goodbye. Millennium Stadium here we come! The deal is now in the hands of our financial advisors (oh God no!) and providing they say the job’s a good’un the deal will definitely go ahead. And it seems that there’s about as much chance of them saying anything other than “what are you waiting for?” as there is of Ged Brannan getting a shock call up for the World Cup squad. Mainly because the City Council are desperate for a long term tenant to justify building the thing, because fears of the people of Manchester footing the bill for a ‘white elephant’ that only ever gets used once have been voiced quite vociferously of late. And you can be sure that they’re doing all in their power to convince Franny and the boys that it’s a good deal. Fears over watching the match from too far away because of the running track appear unfounded, with one of two options almost certain to be employed to solve that particular problem. I hear that the original plan of retractable seating is likely to be ditched though because it’s too expensive, and be replaced with the more drastic measure of tearing up the track as soon as the Games are over and pretending it was never there in the first place! Either way, it won’t be an issue by the time City move in. There’s no official announcement planned before April it seems, but it’s not impossible that word will come out of the club as to their plans before then, possibly even within a week or two.

That stalwart of quality journalism, the Daily Mirror ‘unearthed’ an interesting story today. Apparently Alan Ball is interested in signing Martin Phillips for Portsmouth! The irony (other than the fact it was in MCIVTA about a fortnight ago) being that he’d be signed on a free transfer by the manager who once embarrassingly touted him as being English football’s first £10 million player. I’d certainly like to be a fly on the wall at those transfer negotiations!

FC: “So then, Alan me old mate, what would you be prepared to pay us for Martin? Shall we start the bidding at £15 million? Sound fair?”
AB: (ear piercingly shrill) “Well, y’know, he’s unproven, not a lot of promise… how about, er, nothing as an opening offer?”
Once an idiot, always an idiot eh?

Just better clear up a mistake from the last issue. I said it was unclear whether Paul Dickov would be fit for the Bury match, when of course we all know he’s suspended for the next three matches anyway! Ahem, deliberate mistake of course! I was disappointed none of you spotted it actually…

Still on the injury/suspension front, the list of players likely to be missing through suspension is Dickov, Brown and Shelia (whose appeal was turned down by the FA by the way), while injury definitely robs us of Wiekens, Horlock and Brannan (shame) and quite possibly Kinkladze. Good news though comes from the fact that the highly promising 23 year old Scott Thomas (a long term injury victim whose last match was under Brian Horton against QPR in May 1995) made a long awaited return to action after a badly broken leg. He played in last night’s reserves game at Wolves and is said to have impressed Clark no end!

The reserves, if anyone’s interested, lost again, this time 3-1 at Wolves, with City’s goal being a well taken low drive by Barry ‘Take That’ Conlon. David Morley and Paul Beesley both picked up injuries, a hamstring strain and knee injury respectively.

Wednesday 11th February

Georgi Kinkladze’s incredible powers of recuperation have been in effect again this week, and amazingly it looks as though he’ll be playing in Georgia’s last friendly match in Malta tonight. Gio telephoned his mate Kakhaber Tskhadadze and told him that his ankle had responded well to treatment and he was planning on turning out for his country. But first he had to walk on some water, and feed several thousand people using only a Big Mac and large fries so he could play after FC had said “it will take a miracle for him to be fit.” Gio and Murtaz will both be back in Manchester tomorrow, so as long as he comes through tonight okay he will be in the reckoning for the Bury match. Murtaz is of course suspended.

Read a bit of a strange rumour that Michael Brown has not actually been suspended yet by the FA (must have got lost in the post or something) and there’s a chance he could be playing on Saturday. I doubt this is true though, and I haven’t heard anything to confirm it so the best bet is probably to forget I ever mentioned it. Dunno why I did in fact…

Craig Bellamy, sent off on Saturday for “clearing his throat” in the direction of Gio on Saturday (good excuse mate! Yes, he actually said it apparently) has received some limited support from his team mates. Skipper Matt Jackson said, “Craig was very down afterwards. But I told him to make sure he learned from what had happened. He obviously felt he had let all the lads down – and so he should. But you have to remember he is still only a young lad. He got a bit of a knock in the mouth from Kinkladze and he reacted without thinking. It happens. But Craig is now going to miss matches and it will cost him a lot of money as well. That will hurt but there is no better way for a young lad to learn. The sending-off obviously affected us but we showed great spirit and overall I thought we were still the better side even with 10 men.” You obviously get to watch a different match when you’re on the pitch to the one they show to the people in the stands then presumably?

For those of you who don’t have access to English results, Tranmere thrashed a dire Swindon side 3-0 last night, thus plunging City into deeper trouble, in a match watched by Frank Clark. We’re now in the bottom three for the first time since November and at our joint lowest league position ever in the club’s history! The only silver lining to this particularly dark cloud is that we play Swindon away a week on Saturday, and on this performance they should pose us no problems. Expect either a 0-0 or a defeat then I suppose.

A date change for your diaries. The Middlesbrough away match has been brought forward from Saturday 18th April to Friday 17th April for the purposes of television. Looks like the Sky vultures are circling and can see a ‘Boro up, City down’ scenario on the cards. Cue elation in three quarters of the ground, despair in the other and lots of juicy footage of differing crowd emotions and shots of Uwe and Co. having a good cry again. And maybe even Franny topping himself in the stands! Let’s hope the Blues can rewrite the script for them. Hopefully early enough to give them time to regret the decision. Kick off is now 7.45pm by the way.

Fulham and Millwall are both reported to be sniffing around ‘Not So Steady’ Eddie McGoldrick, who is rumoured to be available for around £150,000, although City are denying that they’ve received any enquiries so far. Another of the 15 players listed last week – Neil Heaney – is also the subject of transfer speculation, with Carlisle apparently interested in obtaining his services. Heaney’s fee would also be nominal. Of course.

Kevin Horlock has set himself a target of a return against Swindon next week, although given the severity of his medial ligament injury, it still seems unlikely. Speaking of the incident Horlock said, “I didn’t dare look down at first because I thought my leg might be a right mess. As a footballer you know immediately when something is badly wrong. My knee twisted and it was obvious I wouldn’t be able to carry on. It was a terrible feeling – particularly as that was my first game as captain. I felt very honoured to lead out City at West Brom and was desperate to do well, so to get an injury like that so soon was a real sickener. At first I worried that I might have done the same as Alan Shearer and would be out for the rest of the season. I had been pleased with my form, and that has made this lay off all the more frustrating. There is no doubt that this is the worst injury I have ever had. The only good thing to come out of it is that I could spend Christmas with my family for a change.” Turning to a more positive line of thought he also talked of his comeback trail, “Running is pretty boring, but I’m just treating it like the pre-season. I want to get back as soon as possible, and I could make it for the Swindon game, which would be nice as they are my old club. But I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.”

Finally, it looked as though neither of the Whitley brothers would get a start in the Lawrie McMenemy’s first Northern Ireland B side for the match against a Republic of Ireland B side at Tolka Park, Dublin, but both were in with a good chance of getting on the bench.

Thursday 12th February

Been a quiet day today and not a hint of bad news for once! Good stuff. Gio did indeed play for Georgia in last night’s final match of the friendly tournament in Malta (Georgia beat Malta 2-1 to win the tournament with Newcastle’s Ketsbaia having a storming game apparently); Georgi played the full 90 minutes and came through unscathed. Seems like the fears about his ankle were unfounded then, but I never cease to be astounded at how many knocks he takes yet always seems to bounce straight back! Genuine world class. Both he and Murtaz are now back in Manchester. Gio will play on Saturday against Bury, along with Tskhadadze wholl be making his home début for the Blues in place of Shelia who’s suspended.

As expected the Whitleys were both on the bench for Northern Ireland B against a Republic B side last night. Jeff came on and played the last 30 minutes but Jim unfortunately didn’t get on at all. Northern Ireland B won the game 1-0 and new boss Lawrie McMenemy enthused: “I think the players would be surprised just how many of them are now in the reckoning for the full international side. I thought they did fantastically well!”

There’s quite a buzz building up around Saturday’s relegation derby with Bury. Sam Ellis returns to Maine Road for the first time since being sacked along with Peter Reid five years ago: “It is a crucial game and it’ll be nice to go back but I don’t discuss the past. I never looked back and I’m not starting now. A lot of the City fans probably won’t even remember me!” Sam who? The club are expecting another massive gate for the game (with conservative estimates placing it at over 27,000). Bury are expecting to bring some 2,000, while City have already sold 24,000, and of course tickets are available on the day as well.

Steve McNally (


It came as something of a shock to hear that Ruud Gullit has resigned/left Chelsea. I always knew the draw to the Academy of Comedy would be too strong for such an intelligent, articulate and accomplished man. Well we can always dream on!

Martin Ford (

According to CEEFAX he was pushed – contractual difficulties? – and has been replaced by Gianluca Vialli. He’ll be a hard act to follow.



Issue 6

February 1998, Volume 3 Issue 6 £1.95

Cover stars for February are the Whitleys, the best duo of footballing brothers to play for City since, erm, the Brightwells. Mike Barnett’s interview sheds some light on the short-but-complicated history of gorgeous-pouting Jim and small-but-perfectly-formed Jeff.

Little brother Jeff is refreshingly honest about his decision to opt for Northern Ireland when the international scouts came a-knocking. “I want a long international career, and I’d like to travel the world at the same time,” he says. So, no Unionist tuggings at the heart-strings, then.

Everybody’s hero, Mike Doyle, is a rare interviewee these days. Naturally he’s asked about his infamous anti-Red stance: “I’ll get stick for saying this, but it all stems from the Munich Air Disaster. Of course it was a tragedy, but it gave United that goodwill, that sympathetic support that they’ve been trading on ever since.” Interestingly, he maintains that Nicky’s dad was “the greatest footballer I ever played with.”

Rouge is the colour, but thankfully we don’t get a close-up of messrs Symons, Wright, Dickov and Bradbury in their full Junior Blues panto face paint.

Life President and former Director, Sidney Rose, is featured in his eightieth year. He was last seen a year ago on a BBC Northwest TV special giving a wonderful demonstration of old buffery, when, as club representative on the programme, the impression he created was that of the ship’s captain who refuses to accept that his vessel is holed and sinking. No mention is made, however, of his rôle in saving Glyn Pardoe’s career but we learn that he recommended Don Revie for manager in the eighties.

Gary James, proud author of Manchester – The Greatest City – have you not bought it yet? – actually risked his life to present us with the club’s definitive history (okay, slight exaggeration. But he was sat in the Central Library when the IRA bomb went off in June ’96. “I remember small bits of plaster falling off the ceiling,” he recalls).

This issue features reports on the first consecutive wins of the season, which says it all really.

The posters: a pensive (Nicky) Summerbee; a wistful Quinn; a centrefold Russell; and a gorgeous Kinkladze (Marina, his darling elder sister).

And finally, this month’s sticker is Uwe Rösler (no, honestly!).

David Butler (


I feel very bemused by Claudio Avrili’s comments in MCIVTA 370. Facts do not lie, we are 4th from bottom of the 1st division with relegation to the 2nd division a real possibility. This is not the result of a good management team. If, Claudio, you’ve watched all the games at Maine Road this season, you’ll know that FC’s tactics are not working. We play far too defensively and give too much respect to the away side. I cite the Sunderland and Forest games as evidence of this. We need width to exploit the wide Maine Road pitch. We also need to start playing individuals in their favoured positions. Frank has played an attacking midfielder (Horlock) and a striker (Russell) in the left wing-back position. The starting eleven has been changed more times than the Rags’ home strip (these changes were not all forced!).

Okay, I accept the bit about proven quality not wanting to join City, but that is a rather poor excuse. Joe Kinnear (amongst others) has assembled a team capable of staying in the Premier League without spending millions of pounds. He has bought well from the lower leagues, and fitted players to his playing style. We have to face the fact that FC does not know a good player when he sees one, and he is not even sure how to pick his best 11. His past record speaks for itself.

I agree that Alan Ball is partly responsible for our current problems, but who appointed him? Frannie Lee’s poor wage structure is also to blame for our lack of quality players. When we got relegated we should have kept our Premier League players or replaced them with other Premier League players (see Forest and Boro), but we didn’t. Frannie said Quinn, Coton etc… were too expensive. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys!

Charles Pollitt (


I don’t often bother putting pen to paper regarding City matters. To be honest, my blood pressure couldn’t handle it! However, I really wanted to say a thing or two about the FC debate, especially in light of Claudio Avrili’s letter (MCIVTA 370).

I can’t disagree with the view that the club in at its lowest point ever on the field and that there is a very real chance of us going down again. It is also disappointing that the last ‘half decent’ manager that we seemed to have was Peter Reid. But we need to learn from our mistakes. If we are going to learn anything then it should be… changing the manager does not work! How many times have we tried?

IMHO, whatever happens this season (and yes even if the unthinkable happens) we should stick with FC. We need stability.

I’ve heard all the reports of the improvements in ‘the backroom’ and I don’t know enough about the goings on to comment, but we do seem to be playing better on the pitch.

I know that it’s frustrating to watch games like West Ham, Charlton and Norwich and seeing our knack of tossing gilt-edged chance into the bin, but at least we are making chances.

Uwe Rösler – my heart goes out to you – keep getting into positions and they’ll eventually start going the right side of the post/ crossbar/ stadium!

You, simply, must keep the faith!

Simon Jones (


I was impressed with the point of view expressed by Claudio in the last issue of MCIVTA. This would appear to be borne out by an article on City in this month’s 442 magazine. It portrayed Frank Clark as a manager who is looking at where the club is going in the long term, rather than a short term fix. One of FC’s first moves was to instigate changes in the youth team structure; this meant the door for Colin Bell but FC now believes the changes will lead to us challenging for honours in ten years time. He’s also honest enough to say he doesn’t believe he’s going to be around to see the benefits of it.

His biggest gripe is the press; even when we’d managed back to back wins this season the press, not having anything on the field to complain about chose to circulate rumours on ownership of the club. This does nothing for morale. The food regime at Platt Lane has been changed (no more burgers, chips, sweets and biscuits), as well as the purchase of a new team coach (that’s the one they get to games in). All positive steps. He comes across as an affable, honest man, who was at a loss to explain why the club is in this position, since he believes we are better than our present place (in fact he still mentioned play-off places).

As an addition to Claudio’s piece; I can confirm how Alan Ball ‘motivated’ the players. In a training session, just before the Liverpool match (where we were relegated) he had the players doing shooting practice. Because there was a lack of scoring going on (Frontzeck was the only one hitting the target consistently) he turned to the spectators “They couldn’t hit a barndoor from five paces” and walked over and started yelling at them… not constructive.

In summary FC must be given time, I know we’re teetering on the brink, but if we are to get out of the mire I genuinely believe he has the ability to do it.

Sean Cable (


I’d like to back up what Claudio said in the last edition. It would indeed be madness sacking Clark right now.

Who would we get in return? Who would stay with him – Kinkladze, Horlock, Wiekens, Shelia, Tskhadadze, Brown, Bradbury, Russell? Or any of them?

We have quality through all departments of the side now, but not everywhere – all we need are injuries to clear up, particularly Horlock’s and a regular goalscorer to emerge and then we’ll get out of trouble. I know we should be winning games like the one at Norwich, but earlier in the season, we would have lost – no question. The indirect free kick would have gone in and we’d have got nothing.

Is anyone else noticing the big difference in the side in that we are not a defensive pushover any more? It’s not just players like Shelia – it’s the confidence that they’re spreading to the other defenders like Symons (and surely his form has improved rapidly since losing the captaincy?). Tskhadadze ought to help that. If Wiekens has to play in central midfield as well, fine – it’s his preferred position and the spine of the side then looks pretty solid. Look at the side we could choose eventually, if fit:

  Symons   Shelia
Edghill      Horlock
  Brown   Wiekens
  Bradbury Russell

There’s only Edghill there that I would be worried about long-term and the failure of either Russell or Bradbury to come through yet. The rest can all pass and are undoubted quality. Next season it could do quite well. I just hope it’s challenging for promotion to the Premiership not the First Division.

The importance of Bury next Saturday cannot be understated. If we win and so do Port Vale, it will be very tough indeed for Bury and Portsmouth to stay up.

A point to remember as well is that our run-in to the end of the season sees us up against some of the play-off contenders – our last 2 games may be against QPR home and Stoke away on the last day of the season (Luton reincarnated?) but from March 21st we have Sheffield United, Bradford, Stockport, Wolves, Birmingham and Middlesbrough. We will not get gimmes from them so we must have a good February – beat Bury, Reading, Huddersfield, Oxford Utd and Port Vale – three of those are away and we only drew with three of them last time around.

Hang on – this is going to be tight.

Chris Egerton (


Does anyone fancy making the short journey over the Udders to play them in an 11-a-side fully fledged IFA (Internet Football Association) game. It’s our chance to move up the table. The game will be on Sunday 1 March, on a grass pitch at 2:00-3:30. Come on, there must be 11/12 players out there who want to represent MCVITee FC.

Any takers?

Martin (


Thought that would grab someone’s attention 🙂

I’ve been planning to go to Manchester and see City play live at Maine Road for two years only waiting for the results to get better so that the trip would be worthwhile. But behind every dark cloud has just been another, so now I’m making the trip while we’re still in this league and Gio’s still with us.

I’m going to see the Saturday game vs. Bury and the Wednesday game vs. Ipswich. It would be nice to meet with some Blues before and after the games, to learn the songs and empty a few beers and so. I’ll be delighted for bar suggestions via mail during Friday latest. From early Saturday until Thursday I’ll be staying at some place called Elton Bank Guest House at 62 Platt Lane.

Mattias Svensson (


I am going to be in Dubai for a week to ten days at the end of March/beginning of April. If any Blues out there fancy a mini tribal gathering, please let me know.

Alex Bracey (Miss) a.k.a. Margetson’s Love Interest (


The pub opposite the railway station in Swindon is called the Queen’s Tap for those people going to the match next week. I’ll be travelling up from Cheltenham and hopefully I’ll meet a few of you in the pub as my West Ham supporting husband is accompanying me reluctantly. He’s been warned not to mention the FA Cup.

Samantha Munns (


In response to Yvonne’s article in the last MCIVTA regarding the book called “Attitude Blue – Crowd Psychology at Manchester City FC”, I bought a copy about 12 months ago. It’s a fascinating read if you can get hold of one, although a bit technical in places! Some good pictures in there too, including the Kippax re-furbishment.

You can also get the book, which takes A4 photocopied format, from Sportspages book shop in St. Annes Square, Manchester (which also sells a good selection of footy memorabilia including old strips etc…).

On a different subject… The Macclesfield Branch of the Official Supporters’ Club hold meetings every other Sunday at the “Sportsman”, Chestergate, Macclesfield. This Sunday at 8pm being the next meeting. We organise travel, tickets, functions and generally have a good drink and laugh in these dark blue times! For further info on the branch and its activities, e-mail me, or ring Iain Bather on 01625 265436.

Ros Lawton (


Did anyone watch the Winter Olympics at about 2am on Tuesday night? I was there in front of the telly, insomniac that I am, watching the Men’s Ski Jump, and to tell you the truth it was pretty dull. Wave after wave of Norwegian, Japanese and German loonies sliding down a ramp and hurling themselves into the air. Then suddenly, a young, bearded Georgian stepped up and took position for his jump. I didn’t really take much notice until I glanced at his name: Kakhaber Tskhadadze. Could it have been that City’s latest signing had jetted across to Nagano to compete for his country again? I don’t actually know what the City new boy looks like, so as far as I knew, this man was a Blue! There I was screaming “King of the Air” at my TV as he swooped down the ramp, pushed off and soared into the air like the most graceful gazelle. Unfortunately he was crap and didn’t even make it to the second round. Hope it ain’t a bad omen…

CTID – John Bradley (


Steve Ewan runs the MCFC Supporters’ Club here in New Zealand, and as he isn’t on email, he’s asked me to pass this on. If you want to contact Steve, email me at

My first recollections of City come from playing football in the streets, the Red Rec of Higher Openshaw: “You’re in the City team, and don’t ask why.” My father was an Everton fan and would take me to Maine Road, especially when Everton came. I do not remember too much of those games, except the sight of all those steps leading up to the Kippax terrace. Early games I remember were Trautmann against West Ham, when he threw his shirt at the ref, I think the score that day was 1-6, and pre-season games between City and the reserves (at this time the Rags would be playing European opposition, so nothing changes). From 1964-65 I would take myself off to the game and meet up with the same people, same place every week, on the Kippax, top corner, Platt Lane end. That year City were promoted from Division 2 and I encouraged two Reds to come with me to see the top of the table clash with Huddersfield, which City won and I was really proud of City.

I left school that year and took a job as a butcher, found it hard to travel as I worked Saturdays, my biggest disappointment was when we finally reached Wembley only for me to work that afternoon. At least the result was right.

Following City then was real special; in these days of depression, I can still get a lift from those memories. I went to the League Cup Final in 1974, but that ended in dismay. I left Manchester after that for New Zealand, but remain a Blue, through and through. To return to the question Why Blue? Well, there’s nobody else.

Steve Ewan via Ralph Sheppard (


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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]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #371