Newsletter #388

Mostly Georgian news this issue: Gio is not going to Ajax and JR has told the ‘King of the Air’ that there’s no throne for him in Manchester! I guess that superficially this would seem a bizarre decision as we have only just bought him – and only then after fairly protracted effort – however, although it was relatively recently, that was one manager and one chairman ago!

This issue has an offer to take over McVitee FC and to try to get something going on a regular basis, i.e. form a team which plays regularly together. I know Martin tried this without much success but there really has to be a core of 20 or so players out of 2,000 people on the list (probably around 7,000 if we count people who read MCIVTA). Please give Dave Barker your support.

Other than that, we have some branch news, MCIVTA stickers and a Why Blue – surprisingly, this is an opinionless issue!

Lastly, more Why Blues needed. Let’s hope we get more than eggs for Easter!

Next game, Wolverhampton Wanderers away, Saturday 11th April 1998


Tuesday 7th April

Gio’s move to Ajax looks to be well and truly off. Talks between the clubs broke down after Ajax officials met a delegation from City that included chairman David Bernstein, football director Dennis Tueart and manager Joe Royle. The meeting was aimed at thrashing out the deal’s final details but the parties could not agree on the player’s valuation. Joe Royle said: “We had very friendly discussions, but we could not agree a figure that was acceptable to both parties and their officials have gone back home. Both clubs have given their views on the valuation. We felt their offer was not acceptable for a player of Gio’s talents. We were considerably apart on the fee.” Ajax are rumoured to have refused to go anywhere over £3 million while City won’t listen to offers below a very reasonable £5.5 million. To Ajax’s credit I don’t think they were particularly trying to fleece us because apparently they’ve never paid much more than 1 and a half for a player simply because the Dutch transfer market isn’t as ludicrously inflated as our own.

This news will no doubt alert both Lazio and Sampdoria who were both reportedly waiting in the wings and will probably be a bit more free with their cash to secure the signing. However, it now looks unlikely that Gio will be going anywhere before the summer, which leaves Royle with the dilemma of what to do with the most talented player at the club for the last month or so of the season. Joe obviously realises that it would be foolish not to involve him in some way now that the Ajax deal has gone and stated, “We will now have a chat with him in the next few days and say ‘let’s settle down and see what you can do.'” At last, he seems to be talking some sense in regards to this situation! And not before time…

Meanwhile, Royle apparently wants to sign Sheffield United’s Graham Stuart for £1 million. Royle has set up a summer move for his former Everton striker, who apparently has an escape clause in his Bramall Lane contract. Stuart played a key part in United’s FA Cup run but could be persuaded to rejoin Royle should we manage to avoid the drop!

Tommy Wright is approaching fitness again after his lengthy knee injury and could well be in contention for one or both of the Easter fixtures. Given that Royle has told Margetson that he won’t be given a new contract at the end of the season and should look for another club, it seems logical that Tommy will go straight back in as first choice keeper as soon as he’s fit. Apparently, if he doesn’t make the holiday fixtures he should definitely be available for the ‘Boro away game.

Wednesday 8th April

Joe Royle confirmed today that City and Ajax were an enormous £3 million apart in their valuation of Kinkladze, “I will be speaking to Gio over the next couple of days about the situation and will tell him to settle down. He is still with us and must concentrate on his career. There was a vast gulf in our valuations and realistically there was no chance of a deal. To be fair, it is a different market over there, and they don’t pay that much for players. I think their previous transfer record was about £1.5 million but we expected considerably more. Everyone is in contention for a place and Gio is no different. He has not been fit enough recently or in the right state of mind. The ball is in his court now. There are no other clubs interested in Gio at the moment although Everton did show an interest before the deadline. He must get fit. He’s let his fitness slip in recent weeks and hasn’t been in the right frame of mind to play for us. I know he had his heart set on the Ajax move but the clubs were so far apart there was no chance of reaching a deal.” Perhaps he let his fitness slip when, to quote an MCIVTA poster from Monday, ‘you put him in his place’ by making him train with the reserves eh Joe mate? Perhaps not such a wise move with hindsight? All this malarkey seems to suggest that the interest from Lazio and Sampdoria isn’t all that serious at this stage and it now looks increasingly likely that Gio will be with us until at least the summer…

Jeff Whitley has been banned for two matches after being sent off at Bradford but midfielder Kevin Horlock scored in the 1-0 reserves win over Huddersfield on Monday and is in contention for a return to the first team at Wolves on Saturday. Horlock was an unused substitute against Stockport last weekend but could start at left wing back at Molineux on Saturday, with Richard Edghill switching to right wing-back to cover for the suspended Whitley. Royle said, “Kevin’s return is very timely; he came through 70 minutes last night and could play at Wolves.”

Michael Brown also returned for the reserves last night having served his two match ban but he looks unlikely to get a recall at Wolves with newly installed skipper Jamie Pollock currently occupying the same midfield rôle. However, the way Pollock’s carrying on at the moment it won’t be long before he’s suspended himself and Brown gets a chance to reclaim his place!

Finally today there are unconfirmed reports that Franny is regretting his decision to step aside quite so quickly. It’s alleged that Lee feels that he was too hasty in handing over the reins to David Bernstein as his mother passed away only the week before his announcement and the former chairman was understandably at a very low ebb when he made up his mind to go. Reportedly, Lee has been expressing deep sadness and embarrassment at his failure to succeed in the job, matched only by the deep sadness and embarrassment of the City fans in having to pay to watch City struggle quite so pathetically.

Thursday 9th April

As we said a couple of weeks back in MCIVTA it’s been confirmed that Manchester City have told Georgian defender Kakhaber Tskhadadze he can leave the club at the end of the season. The 29-year-old has only been with City since January after a long wait for a work permit to complete his £350,000 move from Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz. But Joe Royle has decided the big centre-half has no future at Maine Road. The emergence of impressive England Under-18 defender Nick Fenton, who has made a big impact on Royle and his coach Willie Donachie, is said to have been a big influence on this particular decision. When Royle arrived, there were seven first-team members who could play in central defence, and since then he has also signed Richard Jobson. Tskhadadze, who needs to play only two more matches to secure a new work permit in England played in all but one of City’s games under Royle until left out of the 4-1 victory over Stockport last weekend when replaced by Tony Vaughan. Royle said, “We’ve a lot of good central defenders on our books and I don’t think there’s room for Tskhadadze. Vaughan for instance is English and has no work-permit problems. There are also some very good young defenders at the club such as Nick Fenton and David Morley. I’ve told Tskhadadze’s agent he should start looking for a new club.” No word yet on how this affects Murtaz but we’ll keep you posted! The fee is rumoured to be nominal with City expecting to make at least a £300,000 loss on a player who’s only been at the club for about twice as long as Steve ‘Loyalty? What’s that then?’ Coppell hung around. Sound business indeed…

Another rumour from a week or so ago has also been confirmed today. The date: May 6th. The venue: Maine Road Manchester. The opponents: the Jamaican national side! It appears the match is definitely going ahead as the Reggae Boys embark on a punishing schedule of warm up matches (25 in all!) to try to ensure they’re at least competitive in France. Can’t wait for this one personally, let’s just hope we’re all in a party mood and ready to celebrate first division survival!

Jamie Pollock has been told to clean up his act before he lands in disciplinary trouble with the football authorities. Pollock has been booked in three successive games following his £1 million move from Bolton Wanderers last month. He is on course to serve a suspension which would rule the newly-appointed City captain out of the climax to the club’s relegation battle. “I want Jamie to control his aggression when he gets out on to the pitch and learn to channel it in the right direction,” said Joe Royle. Pollock himself admits he must steer clear of trouble. “It is taking me a while to come to terms with the referees in the First Division. They are far more strict than in the Premiership. They are all trying to follow FIFA directives to the letter and that can make it hard for them. Mind you that should be no excuse for me – I cannot afford to keep on picking up stupid bookings. It is a great honour to be captain of such a massive club and I do not want to waste the opportunity by getting suspended!”

Finally it looks as thought he club are to give the fans the final say on the proposed move to the Millennium Stadium, although it’s not yet clear quite how this will work, or indeed who will have a say. The only suggestion I’ve heard so far is that there will be a series of open days which fans can attend to find out more and then presumably there will be some kind of ballot. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one!

Right, that’s it. Happy Easter everyone, and fingers crossed for six points! See you on Monday…

Steve McNally (


Would you be interested in a sticker for the rear window of your car? Size 300x65mm.

I need to gauge how many subscribers might be interested in purchasing one of these to make it cost effective to have them made. At least 500 people would need to show an initial interest to enable the cost to be kept down. And I would have to look into prices for P&P.

If you feel the need to be known then send me an email.

Andy Stevenson (


I’ve just read that the MCIVTA football team has been wound up. This is a shame and I’m sure it’s something we can remedy. Martin Ford tried hard to keep it going and arrange it and since he has paid 100 pounds of his own money to enter that competition, I think we should do something about it.

I couldn’t play in the last game because I had stitches from an operation, but I want to give it a go, and I’m sure there are others who want to play too but think they are too unfit, or haven’t played for a long time (same as me). So, let me know how many of you want to start playing/training, maybe early Sunday afternoon every week when there’s bugger all else to do and let’s get a team together. Good excuse to get away from the missus too… Let me know what area you live in so we can pick a location easy for everyone to get to.

Dave Barker (


Friday 17th April: Live on Sky – City vs. Middlesbrough at Terry Neill’s Bar, Holborn Viaduct, Kick off 7.45pm

Join fellow Blues to watch the game live from the Riverside Stadium.

Saturday 18th April, Ian Brightwell’s Testimonial Evening at the Rugby Tavern, Rugby St, London WC1. Commencing 7.30pm

This year’s Social will be part of Ian Brightwell’s Testimonial Year. As well as Ian, it is hoped that a number of former players will be in attendance. Branch President, Asa Hartford has also been invited. The evening will include a Q&A session, your chance to win a signed City shirt and the presentation of the Supporter of the Year Trophy.

Tickets: Adults £10, Under 16s/Unwaged £5. Buffet included, and there’s a raffle too.

Anyone wanting tickets email:

Julian Cooke (


Sorry but I didn’t see any earlier requests about the Coynes. My girlfriend used to work with Ged Coyne’s wife, Pat, who is a lovely woman. I only have a sketchy knowledge about them but know Peter played for Swindon under the infamous reign of Lou Macari and now plays non-league.

Both Ged and son Peter now work at Manchester airport.

Justin Hanson (


Growing up in the challenging and decaying ruins of Moss Side, Saturdays were all I lived for. Saturdays were spent with the Shoot magazine, a can of Coke and a Mars bar, reading about my heroes, waiting for the three o’clock kick off. City was my religion on those wonderful afternoons when Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Oakesy, Doyle, Corrigan etc. would trot out onto the sacred turf as it crackled with electricity – excitement – expectation and pride. City was one of the greatest teams and we were amongst the luckiest fans in the world. Along with Burnley, City was the Academy for future raw talent.

Today, looking across the Indian Ocean from the white, sandy beaches of Perth, Western Australia where I now reside (10 years) with my wife and three children, I still long for Maine Road on Saturdays. Despite many great friends, most of whom are fellow Blues and a couple of baptised Aussie Blues, I yearn for the pies, the Bovril, the smoke, the pre-match conversation and the singing that went with being a City fan.

Even though I have been beaten up by Scouse B*****ds at Liverpool, punched senseless by Police at Shrewsbury and chased into the river Trent by Forest fans, my love for City is unconditional and even from 12,000 miles I still feel like a member of the most loyal family in the world.

The memories of thousands clad in Blue, White and Maroon heading past my house in Lloyd St North at 2.15 pm and the rush of nervous excitement accelerating through my veins remain. It didn’t matter who City was playing: Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Man United we could take them all!

Apart from the occasional glimpse of City on Cable TV in Aussie, I rely on MCIVTA to try to educate my children about Man City in the hope that once day it will return to the way it was. It would be worth the $2,000+ for airfares etc. to watch City if we could ever get to Wembley.

I’m sure the good times will return and if I were to have my life over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing.

Yours from afar, Karl Clarke, C.T.I.D – Keep the faith
Submitted by Graham Hine (


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 #388