Newsletter #386

A more upbeat issue after the nadir that was Monday’s, even Gio has not yet departed! We’ve got two match reports from Saturday (thanks Rob and Steve), a guide to the pleasures of Division 2 courtesy of Jeremy Poynton, much opinion, humour and an interesting Why Blue.

Steve McNally has not had time to do the news for this issue; a brief synopsis is hence provided here: Gio has been in Holland for the last 2 days trying to agree terms for a move to Ajax, though nothing has been completed as yet. Royle has stated that it would be in the best interests of both player and club, so we’re getting conflicting signals, JR saying that he wants away and is keen to make the move, and Gio saying he is still keen to help City. However, it only seems a matter of days before a deal is completed, though the fee – rumoured to be £5.5m – seems a giveaway. The only other news of note is that Horlock may be in contention for Saturday, and that JR was sighted at the Bristol/Oldham game this week!

There is also an article on the squad – please take time to look at it and then mail Simon Edwards if you have additional information.

Lastly, Martin desperately needs players for McVitee FC to play on Saturday morning against Stockport – surely there must be 11 people out there who fancy a kickaround? Please mail Martin directly.

Next game, Stockport County at home, Saturday 4th April 1998


BRADFORD CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 28th March 1998

What, no match report!? Details are slightly blurred after a session in Bradford’s “best pub”, the New Beehive, which offered the stunning (literally) Hop Demon bitter. On a pleasant spring afternoon and in front of a 17,000 crowd City lined up with the rightly-despised 3-centre back formation:

  Jeff Whitley    Jobson   Symons   Tskhadadze   Edghill
                  Jim Whitley  Pollock  Bishop
                         Rösler  Goater

Subs: Russell, Wiekens, Badbuy

So no place for Gio, not even on the bench and Dickov the latest person to be expelled from the squad.

It all started so well. We had quite a lot of early possession with new-old boy linking up well with Jeff Whitley. Bradford forced a few corners put we didn’t look in any great danger. Pollock got his usual early booking though whatever happened to the quiet word in a player’s ear? Any earlier and the lad would have received his yellow card in the warm-up! In turn, McGinlay dumped Jeff Whitley over the touchline and received a card. I suppose McGinlay felt Jeff had overdone his reaction (I’m being charitable here) as he let off a stream of verbals in Jeff’s direction, actually right in his face. OK, so players get steamed up on the pitch but I think “black bastard” and especially “nigger” are totally out of order. Neither the ref nor our illustrious captain did anything about this but isn’t this the kind of racial abuse the Football Taskforce was referring to this week? The coward McGinlay didn’t bother taking up an argument with the more physically imposing Shaun Goater.

Back to the match, we had a couple of good chances to score through our lively Bermudan. For the first he peeled away from his marker and sent a shot across the goalie but beyond the post. For the second he hit a lob from distance wide of the goal. He seems to have a good touch and won lots in the air but Uwe was typically running in the wrong direction (if at all).

We looked likeliest to score first and Pollock’s raking cross from the left found Jeff Whitley in space on the right to head in with ease. For the rest of the half we looked solid but of course one goal is never enough for the Blues, and so it proved…

Half-time: Bradford 0 City 1

Early in the second half Bradford stepped up the pace and City were losing it in midfield. In a bizarre moment they contrived to hit the same post twice in the same move with our defence wide open. Then a weak clearance by Symons gave their Pepper a chance to lob Margetson. 1-1 and we were definitely wobbling. Wiekens came on for a Bishop, who hadn’t done much wrong but was fairly quiet. This made the midfield worse though as Wiekens persisted in passing to the opposition. Then we were treated to yet another Symons give-away goal as with plenty of time and space to clear the ball he dithered, rather like Wolves at home last season and several other occasions, and Edhino ran through to beat Margetson comfortably. At this point I was wishing the dreadful McGinlay had remained on the pitch. Russell came on for Tskhadadze, who took a first half knock. In this substitution the boards initially showed 11 and Rösler seemed quite keen to have an early shower, not that he had exerted himself to deserve one. But Uwe stayed on and Bradbury came on late. As the clock moved towards 5 p.m. there was a late rally from us with Russell showing some pace on the left. Goater had the best chance to score but his shot hit a divot and flew over. Other shots from Pollock amongst others were deflected for corners or blocked. Just before the final whistle, Jeff Whitley got a red card, apparently for something he said to the assistant referee: I bet it was nothing like as vicious as the earlier stick he’d taken from McGinlay. All very sad and quite unacceptable.

Final score: Bradford 2 City 1

Overall, an extremely frustrating game as we were in a great position to win. The team worked hard generally and we created chances. But we were let down by 3 players: Symons whose 2nd half display was pathetic, Rösler who did sod all and Wiekens who showed that he definitely isn’t a midfield player. Of course, Symons and Rösler can walk away for nothing at the end of the season when we’re relegated so it seems to me Royle should re-think his team selection.

Margetson (6), Jeff Whitley (6), Edghill (6), Jobson (6), Symons(0), Tskhadadze (6), Jim Whitley (7), Pollock (8), Goater (7), Bishop (5), Rösler (0).
Subs: Wiekens (2), Russell (6), Bradbury (6).

Rob Simmons (


BRADFORD CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 28th March 1998

The game was played in glorious summer conditions with most of the crowd in City shirts. As with Port Vale we packed in the stand behind the goal, and half of one side. On paper the City team looked solid: Margetson, Jeff Whitley, Edghill, Symons, Jobson, Tskhadadze, Jim Whitley, Pollock, Goater, Bishop, Rösler. Subs Wiekens, Bradbury and Russell. City started brightly attacking the far goal.

Pollock was booked within 2 minutes for another reckless challenge. Is this the “bottle” that Gio lacks? If Jamie carries on like that, he won’t be available for the run-in, as he will be serving a ban. So far he’s played 180 minutes, with 168 of those under the threat of being sent off! And if I see him give one more of those clench fisted “cum-ohhhhnn” salutes, I think I’ll run on and slap him. Just show us what you’re made of Jamie, but watch you don’t slip in it! Only joking, he certainly gees the team and crowd up. We were well in control throughout the first half, with Symons and Jobson in particular winning everything down the middle. Edghill’s last touch was poor early on but improved as the half went on, when he put in some great high balls for Shaun Goater.

I was very impressed with Goater, who won everything, and I mean everything, in the air, so much so that Uwe took quite some time to anticipate Goater’s lay-offs. His best effort was when he latched onto an “upanunda” down the left, and lobbed the oncoming Rag Walsh, the ball bouncing agonisingly wide of the right hand post. He also had another good chance in the first half. Ian Bishop was given a great welcome but took a bad knock early on and struggled to make an impression, being substituted early in the second half. City deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute when Jeff Whitley met a left sided cross with a looped header from 12 yards. Half time 1-0.

Big fat, big fat John, big fat John McGinlay had been the butt of our songs throughout the first half (to his credit he joined in the fun), and paid us back big style by not coming out for the second half, being replaced by Edinho (white boots and all). From the start Bradford looked a different team, the two wide men stretching our defence to the limit. After just 4 minutes the equaliser arrived through Pepper, following another defensive cock-up, and the writing was on the wall. The next 15 minutes would be crucial. Would we cave in, or would we bounce back as we did at Swindon? Bishop was replaced in midfield by Wiekens(!). Now if Joe Royle had asked me, or any of the other 6,000 City fans, about our Dutch master, we would say “good in defence but forget him in midfield.” And so it proved to be. Wiekens plays and thinks like a defender. He rarely passes forward and lacks the pace required to compete, and was out of his depth. Gio should have been the one to come on, and I believe we would then have come away with a draw at least. Bradford gained in confidence and took the lead through Edinho, waltzing through the middle and side-stepping Margetson, before slotting the ball into an empty net.

Craig Russell came on; at first the number 11 board was raised and Uwe walked towards the touchline. Joe Royle then changed his mind, and Tskhadadze was sacrificed in an attempt to grab the equaliser. City’s best chance of the second half fell once again to Shaun Goater. Jamie Pollock headed into his path, and with only Walsh to beat, the ball bobbled as he hit it, and it ran past the left post. The depression worsened when Uwe was replaced by Bradbury after 80 minutes, who had one good chance, but fired straight at the ‘keeper. It appeared that he was trying too hard to ensure he hit the target, which he did, but he looked good! Jeff Whitley had been booked early in the second half for continued pushing (the actual booking incident was innocuous and could have gone either way), and as Bradford “consumed” time in the corner, 3 players playing one-touch, Whitley barged in to put the ball into touch and obviously said something to the linesman as the throw-in was awarded against him. The linesman attracted the attention of the referee (who had a good game IMHO), and Jeff walked before the red card came out. As he walked along the line towards the tunnel in the corner at the other end of pitch, the final whistle blew, and he was beaten to the tunnel by most of the embarrassed City players.

So we have 6 games left with a mountain to climb. The side badly needs a win to boost confidence. IF only Goater had scored… if only Gio was involved… if only Murtaz was fit… if only this wasn’t really happening!

Steve Kay (


Both Simon Edwards and Stuart Reynolds have offered to put together the City squad, keep it updated and submit it on a monthly basis, so that we can all keep abreast of squad development, seeing as it’s so large!

There is bound to be missing info so if you can provide any missing data, from players through to transfer fees and loans etc., please mail Simon in the first instance as he has put this together.

Players in 1st team squad

GK 	Martyn Margetson
DEF 	Richard Edghill
DEF	Richard Jobson
DEF 	Kit Symons
DEF 	Kakhaber Tskhadadze
DEF 	Gerard Wiekens
MID 	Ian Bishop
MID 	Ged Brannan
MID 	Jamie Pollock
MID 	Jim Whitley
FOR 	Lee Bradbury
FOR 	Shaun Goater
FOR	Uwe Rösler
FOR  	Craig Russell

Players not in 1st team squad

GK 	Nicky Weaver
DEF 	Ian Brightwell
DEF 	Tony Vaughan
DEF 	Scott Hiley 		transfer listed
MID 	Nigel Clough		transfer listed
MID 	Lee Crooks
MID 	Georgiou Kinkladze	transfer listed
FOR 	Gerry Creaney		transfer listed
FOR 	Paul Dickov

Players suspended

MID 	Michael Brown 		1 match
MID 	Jeffrey Whitley 	1 match

Players injured

GK 	Tommy Wright
DEF  	Murtaz Shelia
MID 	Kevin Horlock

Players on loan

DEF 	Paul Beesley 		loan to Port Vale
DEF 	John Foster		loan to Carlisle United
DEF 	Rae Ingram 		loan to Macclesfield Town
DEF 	David Morley  		loan to Ayr United
DEF 	Eddie McGoldrick 	loan to Stockport County
MID 	Neil Heaney 		loan to Charlton Athletic
MID 	Martin Phillips 	loan to Exeter City
MID 	Aled Rowlands  		loan to Sligo Rovers
MID 	Scott Thomas 		loan to Brighton and Hove Albion
FOR 	Barry Conlon 		loan to Plymouth Argyle
FOR 	Chris Greenacre 	loan to Cardiff City
FOR 	Mikhail Kavelashvili 	loan to Grasshoppers Zürich

Players transferred

DEF 	Alan Kernaghan		St. Johnstone	free transfer
MID 	Jason van Blerk 	West Brom	£50,000
MID 	Tony Scully 		QPR		£150,000
MID	Nicky Summerbee		Sunderland	£1 million swap deal with Craig Russell

Simon Edwards (


Last call and reminder. MCVITee FC play their second official match in the PSINet League this coming Saturday 4th April, please see below for details. So far I have had a couple of positive responses from MCIVTA subscribers offering to play and sorry folks that ain’t good enough. I’d like to have an idea of how many players I can expect before the kick-off. So if anyone fancies a game, as I said before I’m not particularly bothered about fitness and skill levels, more enthusiasm at the moment, then please let me know, or if it’s too late then just come along. I’ll be the short fat guy, with receding grey flecked hair and a worried expression on his face.

Oh yeah maybe this’ll act as a spur: County’s list currently boasts 300 subscribers, of which they managed to field a complete team and subs in their last two games, not a bad turnout. MCIVTA has over 2,000 subscribers, can’t even get 11 players out of that list? Come on lads and lasses.

County have booked Aquinas college for the match on 4th April. It’s a grass pitch and we have it from 10:00-13:00. I think a 10:30 kick off would be about right. It’s on Nangreve Road near the Bamford Arms. Heaviley. Halfway between Stockport town centre and Hazel Grove. Bamford Arms is the travellodge on the A6.

That’s the County game dealt with, now how many MCIVTA readers are going to Wolves on Sat 11th, how many MCIVTA readers live in the Black Country/Staffordshire/West Midlands – well could you make it for a game against Inter Wolves on the morning of the Wolves vs. City game? Once more this game will only go ahead if I get positive responses, this time however I need to know by late Friday 3rd April at the latest, I don’t want the Wolves lads to book the pitch if we can’t raise a team.

Martin Ford (


Or indeed, in this one. By popular request, the New Interactive Guide to the 2nd Division – Interactive, because as Homer Simpson said “Oooh – they’ve got the Internet on computers now.” Being a regular spectator at Ashton Gate over the past 10 years, during which time Bristol City have spent the majority of their seasons in the 2nd Division, I suspect I am better qualified than most Mcivta-ites to inform us all of the perils approaching. So here goes … a blow-by-blow guide to Division 2. Take a deep breath … then read on.

  1. There’s a sign over the gates to Division 2 which reads “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”
  2. Bury. P****d off with playing Bury twice this season? Well, wait and seehow you like playing them 40 times next season. Okay, so the clubs inDivision 2 aren’t all called Bury but most of them play like Bury. Giventhat, and the fact that we extracted just the one point from Bury thisseason, that indicates to me that 40 games vs. Bury at 1 point per 2 games makes 20 points.Six games vs. others at a maximum 3 points per game makes 18 points. That’s a total of 38 points.Hmm. Looks like Division 3 for the new Mandellium.
  3. Brick S***houses. Never mind the doors. Most clubs in Division 2 comprise 11brick s***houses, plus a few more on the bench for good measure. RememberSkinner Normanton, of postwar Barnsley fame? (If not, ask your dad) -well, he has been succesfully cloned and is now an integral part of thebulk of Division 2 teams. Yum.
  4. Grounds. Allegedly. You may be able to find some of them. Some of themare in the guise of Rugby Clubs with pitches to fit. And we wonder whyKinky wants out?
  5. Savage teams. Even given (4) above, you should watch out for thefollowing teams: Northampton, Gillingham, Blackpool (CC Cup watchers will Isuspect recall Gary Brabin(?))
  6. Enormous strikers with whirling arms and heads made of concrete. Toonumerous to mention.
  7. Enormous defenders with whirling arms and heads (yup, some of them havemore than one) with large knobbly protuberances. Even more numerous thanthe above.
  8. You thought the Cuckoo Lane End was bad? Surely, I hear you say, theremust be some plus points. Well … there are a few clubs that do try toadhere to playing football (in the sense of the Trades Descriptions Act).Grimsby, Wrexham, Fulham – tho’ (2nd Division etiquette lesson here), we allhate them, as they have pots of cash, and Julie Andrews in charge(“smashing chap” – Ray Wilkins). Bristol City – tho’ will almost certainlypass us in the other direction, and Watford – as BCFC. What else? Well, lots ofnew grounds for anoraks to notch up! New chants to wonder at, and attemptto decipher. A chance to meet yours truly before playing the Gas (BristolRovers) next season, and the sharing of an ale or two. Even longer journeysto away games … Gillingham … Plymouth … maybe even Torquay. Andlastly, but not least, quite possible a local derby against the Silkmen ofMoss Rose.

CTTFKM (City till they f****** kill me), Jeremy Poynton (


I write having just read MCIVTA 385. Firstly it seems that I must have a world exclusive scoop on the “Gio trains with the A-team” story. I can assure Andy Stevenson and any other doubters that Gio definitely trained and played six-a-side with the kids under the control of “Ace” Hartford. It definitely wasn’t a case of “extra training”, as the first team were at the opposite corner of the grounds. I would say I know the City players as well as most, being the sad individual I am, but if you offered me 10,000 pounds to name any other player on the pitch, I would have to “pass”. They did the cool down exercises and finished 5 minutes before the first team squad. There was no contact between Gio and the squad, as he left immediately for a shower before returning for the interview I mentioned. When he returned to Platt Lane to speak to the Dutch journalist, I believe Joe Royle was holding a team brief, with Kinky in a different part of the building. Despite this apparent snub, Gio was as usual, a perfect gentleman, and happily agreed to any request for photos and autographs. He certainly didn’t seem to be bitter towards the club.

I heard today (Wednesday) that he has gone to Holland for talks with Ajax about a give-away £5.5 million pound summer move (backs up my conversation with the said Dutch journalist!). Just think, Kinky is only worth £2 million more than Lee Bradbury! If Gio is to go, I hope he goes abroad. I don’t think we could bear the thought of playing against him in a Cup match, even though we wish him luck. I think Joe Royle is the right man for City, but I have yet to speak to a City fan who can fathom out what the crack is between him and Kinky. I wonder if there is any significance that this situation has arisen at the same time as Gio’s “father” Frannie left the club? Now I read that Tskhadadze can go for £50,000 and Murtaz “best City defender since Colin Hendry” Shelia may be on his way. Has the new regime told Joe to rid the club of anyone or anything connected to Francis Lee? Seems like it to me, but we shall see.

I have been “involved” in more matches this season than any member of the playing or managerial staff, except perhaps Kit Symons, having spent over £1,000 following City in 43 games so far, so I feel my opinion counts. I agree to an extent that Kinky has been a liability in many games this season, and Frank Clark would have been justified in bringing him off but I simply cannot understand what is to be gained by cutting him adrift in our hour of need. It was patently obvious that with 20 minutes to play against both Sheffield United and Bradford, we needed a spark. We all know that he would give 100%, and imagine how the opposition would feel, seeing him peeling off his Kappa trackie top. I agree with Dave Evans’ piece about burning bridges. If Gio was involved until the season end, even in cameo rôles, it would only serve to increase his value, and he would be “in the shop window”. It would also allow us to show him how much we love him. He has shown his loyalty to club, and the club should recognise this. I believe the club could show this by putting a unique clause in his sale contract, stating that the club has the option to buy back Gio if (not when) they return to the Premiership, for no more than his selling price (assuming he would want to return).

Steve Kay (


Have just been reading the local rag, Otago Daily Times you can only get one more area further south than here. The Manchester débâcle has even reached down here as I found this article in the above paper. We must be making waves as Otago can’t play soccer (well neither can City) so at least we have something in common.

Manchester City moves closer to the brink

Manchester: These are grim days for famous soccer club Manchester City. The grimmest, bleakest days in its 111-year history. For while arch-rival Manchester United is glimpsing the stars, City is heading for relegation to the third tier of English soccer for the first time. The resignation of former playing hero Francis Lee as chairman followed a 2-1 defeat by Port Vale that left City 22nd in the first division, the lowest position in its history.

It is not so long ago Manchester City was challenging not only United for supremacy in Manchester but Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton for supremacy in England. But it has now been 22 years since City last won a trophy – the League Cup in 1976 – and its recent decline has been so swift it is hard now to remember it was in the Premier League for the first four years from 1992-96.

Joe Royle, who, like Lee once played for Manchester City, is the eighth manager in the past four years to try to turn the club around. All he can realistically aim for this season is to avoid the drop and, while he might succeed, he has a huge job in rebuilding the soul of the club, being kept alive by the loyalty of its supporters. In reality, the man now charged with that responsibility is City’s new chairman David Bernstein. He needs to claw back 20 lost years, which fans, club historians and the evidence itself shows began when the late Peter Swales took control of the club. When he took over in 1973, the club was still basking in the afterglow of the heady successes of the triumvirate of Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee, who had led City to the League Championship in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969 and a League Cup-European Cup Winners’ Cup double in 1970. Almost immediately, he had problems with flamboyant manager Malcolm Allison and sacked him within a year. Ever full of contradictions, Swales then brought Allison back in 1979, ousting the more pragmatic Tony Book, who had guided it to the League Cup triumph in 1976. City’s financial troubles began to appear about the same time with a number of questionable transfers – a problem still affecting City today, according to Lee. “In the last four years upwards of £30 million ($NZ87.26 million) has been spent on this club one way or another and we have got very little to show for it.” At the same time, City has failed to develop its own talented youngsters. Soccer magazines have regularly run teams of players now doing well elsewhere who were all allowed to leave City when young. Ryan Giggs, who has become one of the greatest players in Manchester United’s long history, ironically scoring the winner on his full League début for United against City on May 4, 1991, played for City as a junior but never signed a contract.

Swales left the club in 1994 and died two year later. Lee replaced him at Maine Road and supporters felt perhaps a turning point had come. It had, but for the worse. That was the year City was relegated to the first division. Now City has lost the man proclaimed as a saviour four short years ago.

Royle has proved himself an excellent manager, taking Everton to victory in the 1995 FA Cup Final and transforming Oldham from a lower-division club to a Premier League club on a limited budget by the early 1990s. Now he has an even tougher task on his hands, but if City is to bounce back, perhaps it could look across to Old Trafford to see how things should be done. Since 1981, Manchester City has had 12 managers and won nothing. Manchester United has had two managers and won 12 trophies.

Steve Swindells (


Whatever happens in the next 6 games, nothing will change me I will always be a City fan, but in the meantime I will pray we will win and stay in Division 1. It’s too early to be thinking anything further than this season.

Come on you Blues you can do it!

Ernie Barrow – Virginia U.S.A. (


I’m a bit confused about Neil Haigh’s comment that our little Georgian maestro actually cares about City. If this is the case I’m sure he would have produced a little more on the field than he has done this season.

The writing was on the wall when he was quoted (in an overseas paper) as having made a mistake signing a new contract. His recent contribution to the team and the Club in general has been minimal. Apart from the West Ham game I doubt if he’s broken into a sweat this season. Last year the only good string of results coincided with Kinkladze’s absence through injury.

He has been Francis Lee’s protegee and allowed to do what he wants, when he wants, safe in the knowledge that Lee would look after him. Now that Lee has been deposed (thank goodness) it seems that Gio has gone into a terminal sulk.

As left hand drive Jags are not on every showroom forecourt I guess the decision to purchase such a vehicle was made well in advance of its delivery – just after the demise in October of his Ferrari perhaps. Not an indicator of long term plans for driving in England.

Kinkladze is the most talented player ever to be on City’s books, and probably among the top few ever to play in England. However, no individual has ever been greater than any Club – even one as shambolic as City. If Joe Royle wants to give him a kick up the arse and shake him out of his lethargy then that’s OK by me. If Kinkladze hasn’t the bottle to respond to this and show us his real capabilities then I’m quite happy for him to play in Holland or wherever next season – just as long as we get a good price for him.

Roger Haigh – No relation to Neil Haigh (


Once again I am forced to endure the condescending comments of my colleagues, one of whom is a Bradford fan. Once more I bear witness (albeit by radio) to the sad plight of My Team, yet again the sick certainty that, no matter who arrives at the club, player or manager, they will do a worse job than the people they are brought in to replace. And, possibly outweighing all of the above, is the knowledge that the press for once will be proven right, and that the one silver lining to our oh so black cloud has pulled on the shirt for the last time.

You know who I mean.

Well I say enough.

We are a major force in football.

We do not belong amongst the dregs of this poor division.

It is time our “manager” began to think like a winner. It is time to pick a Manchester City team, a team that displays the passion and flair of their predecessors, A team selected for its attacking flair, balanced against its outright commitment to the cause. It is time to stop p***ing about with continental systems. It is time to pick people who care for this club.

It is time to pick Michael Brown, who with Jamie Pollock will put bite into the midfield.

It is time to pick Goater and Bradbury and to give them the support they need.

It is time to pick wingers, not whingers.

It is time to pick a back four.

It is time to pick the same team for the rest of the season, playing in the same formation and F*** the opposition. They don’t matter.

But most of all, it is time to pick Kinkladze.

It is time for Joe Royle to be told that this is what we want.

It is time for the players that are picked to know that we are behind them.

It is time for these players to stand up and be counted.

Colin Ashworth (


So the only world class player I have ever seen in a City shirt (Lake never made it so the closest would have to be Coton and Quinn – no disrespect to either Big Niall or TC but they’re not even close) is going. He has been disgracefully treated during the end of his stay here, for which there is no defence. If they were trying to pretend to the fans that they weren’t selling him in order to boost season ticket sales then they are treating the fans with contempt. We aren’t that stupid. If Royle doesn’t rate him then I dread to see who will be playing in our laser blue shirts one year from now as he clearly can’t see skilful players for what they are. Even if Gio really wants to go now and the statement about wanting to help the club stay up was just diplomacy, why won’t the club say so, or would that just reduce the amount we’ed get for him still further? Which brings me back to the real reason I wrote this – we’re selling Gio for a paltry £5.5 million according to the papers. We should be getting £7.5 million minimum. Is this yet another case of selling a good player in a cut price deal and will we then go and spend it on overpriced players? I would hope not but I’m struggling to think of the last time we didn’t. Also the Times said we only paid £500 000 to Dynamo Tbilisi for him, I thought it was nearer £2 million? Anyway, treasure the memories, I don’t want to sound depressing but the article in the last MCIVTA about Royle’s inability to play skilful players rather than his ‘dogs of war’ seems a little too close to the truth for comfort. How many high quality, or just quality players did he leave Everton with?

Thomas Bodey (


As an exiled Blue in Norwich trips to see City are a rarity. Feeling we could not be worse than my last game – Reading away – I decked my daughter (10) and nephew (12) in laser blue and headed to Valley Parade. Home/Away fans mingled for pre-match pint in friendly fashion; one local assured me we would win and I convinced him otherwise.

Sound start with usual great support (the best in the country according to a Bradford fan on “606”). Second half complete collapse in true City style. Big boot, no width, players unable to control the ball or pass to each other.

Oh for a creative player with skill, ball control and guile. Now I am told by the locals here including an ex-pro that JR is a decent chap and good judge of player and I wish him nothing but long awaited success at City, but if he persists in his hare-brained policy of leaving Gio out then I fear we are doomed.

Come on Joe give Gio a chance before it is too late, for us … and you.

CTID, David Clarke (


If £5.5 million is the rumoured figure (as it says on Ceefax), someone will get a bargain.

Just a shame he’ll probably never get to say goodbye to all the fans who have appreciated his loyalty over the past 2 seasons since relegation.

Neil Bundy a.k.a. Bubbleman (


I was introduced to McVittee in June ’96 and since then I have been hooked, in fact I get withdrawal symptoms if they’re not on my PC on Tuesday and Friday mornings. I know it’s selfish but I’ve never wanted to submit any articles, being quite content to be a reader rather than a contributor.

However, the events of the past two weeks have led me to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

Since our exile into the 1st Division the only thing that has kept me going is knowing that amongst that ragbag collection that we call a team there was a player of creativity, vision and skill, I refer of course to Gio Kinkladze and not Ged Brannan as many of you were thinking. I find it incredible that his loyalty, attitude and commitment to the club has been questioned by our new manager.

I know it’s way too early to start a Royle out campaign but I’m concerned about the direction that he is taking the club. I know that we need scrappers and we have to fight for survival in this division but his treatment of Gio defies belief.

It seems that JR likes grey men, he seems to have a deep mistrust of players with flair, individuality and personality.

Perhaps when he has a moment to spare from his recent hobby he would care to remind us of any team in recent history that have been successful without players with flair, individuality and talent.

The first lesson of management is to build a strong, effective unit based on a wide range of skills, talent and abilities.

Manchester City was not created to be a playground for him or any other manager to exercise their personal footballing prejudices.

As I write this we are still third from bottom, looking at the last six games I cannot see us getting 5 points never mind the 10 that would supposedly make us safe.

We are currently heading for division 2 and I for one will not be renewing my season ticket if we go there.

Averil Capes (


After last night’s Premier Passions, I feel compelled to write this. I’m 21, Blue to the core and one of the oldest people who have never had city win anything in their lifetime. Watching how the Sunderland fans felt about their team’s predicament really hit home. I’ve been going to Maine Road for over 15 years, and I have been in the same position several times (remember the eighties/early nineties… up down up down more times than Bill Clinton!). This time it’s different.

Obscurity of the Second Division is looming, and let’s face it we are going down. Some of you will say that I’m fatalist but we now have to win every game to stay up.

That is the part that hurts, I feel betrayed by the club. I’ve been there through thick and thin (mainly thin unfortunately) and for the club to be in its present state is just like a kick in the nuts, I suspect most people feel the same. To prove a point at the end of PP last night it said 20,000 turned up to the first game of Sunderland’s season, dropped to 12,000 at their lowest and now that they could be promoted they get 40,000+. How many times this season have City had a crowd lower than 20,000? Not many. We are nearly bottom of Division 1 and 29,000 fans pack Maine Road to see City play. We undoubtedly have the best supporters in the country. The club seem to neglect us, i.e. season ticket prices on the up, crap managers, crap players need I say more?

The club are even screwing the kids who come to watch them. It now cost £19 a year to be a Junior Blue, a minimum of £7 a seat for the kids and don’t kids just love to wear their shirts (another £30). The club only allocate so many kids’ seats per game. If they are all sold then any kids after that pay full whack. It an absolute disgrace. It all started with Swales and is still going on.

The fans should be given something back, not just in success but the board should not shirk away from investors and get the money they need from outside the club. Lower the prices, buy decent players rather than going for has beens and who-are-theys? Get a decent sponsor rather than Brother who give us a pittance a year.

I’m City ’til I die, God knows why. It’s a passion, a drug to be Blue. Feel free to mail me if you disagree with what I have said but I speak from my heart. Things must change!

Finally a bit of Blue humour,

There have been three players to play for Newcastle called Warren.
Warren Barton
Warren Aspinall
Peter Beardsley (Warren Ugly Bloke!)

Andy Holgate (


With regard to Neil Haigh’s remarks (MCIVTA 385) about Royle’s ideas at MR, I and many of my friends who regularly attend agree if not in whole but in part.

JR is building a team of midfielders, cloggers and centre halves who will stifle the opposition and the game. There is no creativity at all. There are no players who can run and take men on. He thinks getting possession and hoofing it up the pitch for the frontmen to chase is football – I don’t.

This season we have not been able to score goals, this has in my opinion been often the case of Gio playing through balls only to see chances missed regularly. How many times have you seen Gio on a run, looking for someone to pass to? Our strike force has let us down. Clark recognised this and tried to do something about it with Bradbury but he just seems incapable of scoring. This Shaun Goater looks like the type of player that would thrive on these chances, he at least runs for the ball. The rare occasions when it has come together we have looked a class outfit – remember Forest away? We outplayed, outpassed, outran, out-tackled and outsang them! – Best night of the season.

We demonstrated that when we tried to play football we were a side with talent and promise.

With the side JR has got together, no chance!

Even if we stay up we will never be capable of the sustained winning run needed to allow us to reach the dizzy heights of the promotion places. We are destined to be also rans of the league until we have a manager who has some vision, who realises that based on a solid defence we need creative midfielders promoting the attacks with runs and through balls together with just one ‘hard man’ (I wish Steve McMahon was ten years younger and still here) and two strikers who actually run into positions and can get a shot on target.

I suppose I’m advocating a team which includes Quinn, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Kinkladze, Lomas, Scully, Brown & Shelia – Ah well.

CTID, Dave Ball (


I have received a couple of replies to last week’s Email requesting information where to buy tickets to see City for my mate travelling to the UK next week. Unfortunately I haven’t received any replies regards the pubs etc. which readers of MCIVTA frequent pre/post home games and/or the name of any pubs which have been earmarked for the Wolves game. As Adrian flies out next week (Tuesday 7th April) it’s starting to get too late to pass any information onto him.

Can anyone provide this info?

Graham Hine (


I was born in Ancoats, Manchester in March 1956, my father, being a catholic, was a Rag, as was all his family, so I suppose I had little say in which way I wanted to go. I was even taken to the Swamp on many occasions, had the kit, the bag and all the other crap that goes with it.

My mother died when I was eight, two years later my father re-married and my stepmother’s brother was a Rag, to make it worse he was born in Moss Side and lived five minutes’ walk from the Academy, so there again I had no say as I was dragged to the Swamp whenever I was a naughty boy.

I moved to Longsight when I was ten and went to Crowcroft Park school at the end of what used to be called North Road. It was there that I first came in to contact with what I had been led to believe were “Beings from another planet” (City fans). They were supposed to have two heads, no appreciation for good football and be totally alien, so for a while I kept my distance. I then went to Central High (the first two years were in Victoria Park Longsight) in 1972, it was the first year of the comprehensive system (so that explains the p***-poor spelling and crappy grammar). I then again came in to contact with more aliens, I even played football with them for the school team.

For a while things went ok, I still got dragged to the Swamp but my friends from school, who were Blues, used to ask me to go to see City and eventually I went. It was a whole new experience but when my father found out he was not too happy. At the time I started playing Sunday football for a local team called Victoria Villa in Longsight; most were “Rags”, two of them were brothers, their names are Ged & Peter Coyne. I think Peter played at Wembley and scored a hat trick for England schoolboys and played for the “Rags” in the first division. His older brother went to the “Rags”, was not wanted, went to City and did not make it (where are they now?).

Then one Christmas I asked for a City shirt. That was it, no more pocket money or being dragged to the Swamp (my luck had changed). All my “Rag crap” was confiscated and I was left “shirtless”. At the age of 13/14 I started playing for Whitehill (they were City’s junior side); they used to play at Shore View In Urmstom. I played there with Ged Keegan, he was the only one who went on to play for City’s first team. Also playing was Colin Cantello (his brother played for WBA I think) and Kevin Corrigan, Joe Corrigan’s younger brother. We got to to Wembley in 1969 I think, it is all very vague, but it was a great day out. I stopped playing the year after, with girls and movement in my groin, then later on beer and going out, I lost interest, plus I was never going to make it anyway.

I stopped going to watch and lost interest completely for a few years, it was not until I started playing for Maine Road that I got my interest back in football. I played for them for two maybe three seasons but it got too serious, so I just played Sunday mornings with my mates. Not playing Saturdays for Maine Road enabled me to start watching again, so I got myself a season ticket for the Kippax; even when they played crap (which was often) it was a great afternoon out.

Great events followed, going to Anfield one Boxing Day, expecting to get hammered yet coming away with a win, away games at places which are the ar** hole of the world, Carlisle, Barnsley & Notts County when that wa**er Billy McNeill was in charge, promotion the last Saturday of the season against Charlton, of course the 5-1 against the scum, the 10-1 against Huddersfield, curries on Wilmslow Road on the way home, then out into Didsbury on the p**s, those were the days. One of the best days I had was going to Wembley to play Chelsea in the now obscure “Full Wa**er’s Cup Final”, getting beat 5-1 and leaving early so as to get a quick get-a-away, stopping for a p*** in Birmingham and finding out we had scored three more goals.

As I got older I started watching from the Main stand. I used to meet up sometimes with a friend whose name is Paul Ward (are you out there?) from Heaton Moor, it was not the same as watching from the Kippax but you could see more (and just see how bad we were sometimes). I can not remember the last game I went to; I migrated to Perth, Western Australia in July 1991. The sad thing about being from Manchester is that when you meet someone, they always assume you support the scum. I get great delight in explaining that only people from Manchester support City. Even this weekend I was introduced to some people who followed the scum; when asked if they had been to the Swamp, of course they had not.

Can I thank all subscribers for their contributions as it keeps us “Blues with the Blues” informed and still part of something that the “scum” can never have. I apologise for any inaccuracies.

G’day, Phil Bird, my mate in Rockingham and Alan Gibson who supports Stockport County who I work with. This has taken a long time to put together.

Stay Blue, Brian Smith (


Three football fans leave the stadium after a game and come across a dead, naked woman lying in the middle of the street. After they call the cops, they each take off their baseball caps and place them on the dead woman out of respect and to cover her private parts until the cops arrive. The first fan places his Arsenal cap over her left breast, the second places his West Ham cap on her right breast and the third fan places his Man Utd cap on her pubic area.

The cops finally arrive, and the officers take statements from the fans to find out what happened. After explaining that they found her naked and covered her up with their caps, the cop went over to examine the body. He briefly lifted the Arsenal cap, and quickly replaced it; then he lifted the West Ham cap, and also quickly replaced it. However, when he lifted the Man Utd cap, he stared and stared for what seemed to be two or three minutes. Finally, he let the cap drop, walked away, wrote in his notebook, then returned and lifted the Man Utd cap once again and stared for a long time. As he was walking away the second time, the fans were curious and stopped him and asked him why he spent so much time looking at the woman’s genitalia, and he said, “It’s the first time I’ve seen anything but an asshole under a Man Utd cap.”

Bob Narindra (


In response to Ashley’s other request for squad details, I have made a start and typed out a list of everybody that has been involved this season. I then ran Microsoft Word spellchecker over the list, with some interesting results. Many of the names couldn’t be found, so I have left them, but I reproduce the spellchecker “suggestions”, with added comments.

Marten Margetson,
Richard Edghill,
Kit Simonise (thought it was something you did to your car),
Khakaber Tskhadadze,
Marts Sheila (as per the chant),
Ian Brightwell,
Uwe Rosier (rosier than who?),
Jeff Whitely (l and e switched),
Go Kinkladze (is that what Joe said ?),
Shaun Goitre (?),
Paul Dick (!), (heard in the Kippax “get that Dickoff”)
Tommy Write (Write, Write),
Tony Vaughan,
Gerald(!) Weekends (but not on Saturday),
Paul Beastly (is he?),
Ged Brannan, (actually came out as “useless 1st Division journeyman”)
Kevin Horlock,
Lee Bradbury (surprisingly didn’t come out as “badbuy”),
Nice Summate (what Kinky said after the crash, “some mate you are”)
David Morally (morally gone on loan),
Alan Kernaghan (came out as Alan Imoffonloanagain),
Eddy McGoldrick,
Jason van Blake,
Tony Scilly (as in the Islands),
Barry Colon (keep taking the Bran Flakes),
Ger. Creaky (what happens playing in the reserves),
Michael Brown,
Chris Grenadier(!),
Lee Crook(!),
Neil Heady (reached the heady heights of 2 starts this season),
Craig Russell,
Jamie Police (will be needed if he continues with x-rated tackles),
Ray Kelly,
Peter Beardsley,
Lee Brisk,
Richard Jobs (Richard’s Jobs on the line ?),
Jim Whitely,
Niger Cough (sounds like an African jungle illness),
John Foster,
Scott Hilly (like City’s season),
Buster Phillips,
Nick Weaver.

That’s all for now.

Steve Kay (


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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 #386