Newsletter #393

Yet another result that didn’t relect our dominance of a game thanks to two extraordinary errors by Martin Margetson, the first will surely enter the folklore as a classic of the genre. The main news is that Rösler is on his way, and we don’t get a brass farthing out of the deal – thanks to a minor Belgian footballer and his overbearing club.

We have 3 match reports plus matchviews, a detailed permutations table of all the possible outcomes of Sunday’s games, as well as the relegation prediction league – Week 5 and stacks of opinion. There’s also information on how to support the legal case against the French authorities, for those of you who have been disappointed by the niggardly ticket allocations.

Next game, Stoke City away, Sunday 3rd May 1998



B*****ks! That was my first word when the full time whistle went. What I had just seen defied belief. To say the least I’m devastated.

The biggest crowd of the season packed Maine Road to see this game. 32,040 came to watch a Division 1 relegation battle. The team came out before the game to hold up a banner saying “Thank you for your loyal support”. Shame they haven’t matched it with some good football. The teams were announced and Gio was playing, about bloody time as well. The guy who announces the team sang “Blue Moon” and no one joined in. Once he finished we all sang it. The teams came out and the atmosphere was the best I’ve seen it since the Kippax was rebuilt. Apparently Mr Jones had a go at Kinky in the tunnel to scare him, didn’t work though. City kicked off, and Kinky went on one of his runs only to be chopped down 30 yards out. The Genius stepped up and curled yet another free kick into the top corner, 41 seconds gone and we were 1-nil up. I went berserk as did everyone around me. It was too good to be true, what would the score be 5, 6 or even 10! Alas it was all downhill from here.

City kept the pressure on and had a few good chances, unfortunately squandered by Bradbury. Then QPR got a break and got into the penalty area. One of our players (couldn’t see! sorry) tackled the QPR guy, Margetson picked the ball up and Mr Jones appealed for a free kick (back pass rule). The ref as usual gave it, bollocks if you ask me, it was a tackle not a back pass. Margetson stupidly gave the ball back whilst out of his goal, it was played to Sheron who slotted it into an empty net. 1-1 and another ex-Blue scores against us.

Again the flow of the game went either way until Pollock came to pass back to Margetson instead of clearing the ball behind. Having seen the last decision he was right to head it but not at his own goal, 2-1 QPR and visions of Grimsby on a cold, snowy December night filled my head. Pollock had a good chance to redeem himself but his shot bounced off the bar and back out into play.

Not much happened for the rest of the half except a few squandered chances. Half time 2-1 QPR. The rest of the latest scores were coming through, Stoke were losing but Portsmouth were winning 1-0, still a chance yet then.

City came out a new team in the second half and within 2 minutes we were level. Bradbury scoring, can’t remember how ’cause my nephew was pestering me. Bradbury was ecstatic and ripped his shirt off for his sixth goal of the season (so far he has cost £500,000 a goal!). What happened for the rest of the half was chance after chance missed or squandered. Edghill went downhill after a good first half and sent every cross into the ‘keeper’s arms or over or wide or anywhere except where there was a blue shirt. For the third time in 6 games the opposition were reduced to 10 men and City couldn’t capitalise. Gio was never given the ball dispite being far and away the best player on the park. I just wanted to cry.

It ended 2-2, not enough because Portsmouth won 3-0 and went above us. B*****ks.

Why wasn’t Gio given the ball? He was screaming for it several times but never given the chance.

Edghill should be shot.

Symons was again poor and should be shot before Edghill.

Bradbury, although he scored, wasted several chances and should have had a hat trick. It could be lack of confidence or it could be that he is a Second Division striker like Goater.

Will we survive? I doubt it.

CTID, Andy Holgate (

The first goal was a definite backpass, we could see it clearly from where we sit; I’m still utterly in the dark as to why Maggie picked it up, the look on his face said everything!




This, the last home game of the season, summed up City’s season perfectly. City were to play a side who were also not yet safe from relegation, although the general naffness of the teams below would suggest that QPR would be safe even if they hadn’t got another point all season. The turnout was amazing – even the MFI stand and that bit between the Main Stand and North Stand that you can’t see half the pitch from were full. Before the game the team paraded a banner around the middle of the pitch saying “Thanks for all your loyal support”. Thanks? Thanks? What about “Sorry”? Were they going to turn the banner over and show the words of apology on the other side? Ha, no chance.

Royle had taken the “gamble” of bringing back Kinky into the starting line up, according to all the radio reports on the way up. I fail to understand why this was a “gamble”. Okay, Kinky can (and does) go missing for long periods of the game but which would you prefer? 85 minutes of absenteeism with 5 minutes of absolute genius, or 90 minutes of Ian Bishop? Thanks for the memories Ian, but you’re currently taking up a place in a desperate team where Moonchester would do a better job. The rest of the team were Margetson, Edghill, Horlock, Brannan, Symons, Vaughan, Whitley, Pollock, Bradbury and Goater, subs were Bishop, Russell and Dickov. Before the game there was a bit of a scrap in the tunnel, with Vinny Jones, as player-coach, setting his fellow team mates a fine example by picking a fight with Gio, but we knew nothing of that as the teams kicked off in the bright summer sunshine. Steve had obviously been busy chopping his lottery slips up as the shower of them from the upper Kippax seemed to go on for ages.

Well, the game was a mere few seconds old when Jones fouled Gio about 25 yards out. Here we go, we all thought. Dirty git can’t cope with genius, going to hack at him all game, hope he gets sent oh my God he’s scored. I have to admit, I didn’t see Gio kick the ball but I did see it go into the back of the net, past a ‘keeper who obviously also didn’t see Gio kick the ball and who couldn’t get anywhere near it. I stood with tears in my ears. Could the litle genius finally answer all the “tell me how many games he’s won for City” detractors and keep us up?

City successfully avoided the next obvious pitfall by not letting QPR go straight down the other end and equalise, raising ever higher hopes. The atmosphere at this point was incredible, the only person in the ground who wasn’t on his feet singing and shouting was the bloke in front of us, but then he’s whinged constantly for the last three years so I couldn’t see him stopping now. It was such a shame it had to end. Vaughan passed the ball back to Margetson, who completely lost his mind and picked it up. Why? Vaughan didn’t do anything wrong by passing it to him, he wasn’t under immediate pressure and if for some reason he’d thought he was, why didn’t he just let it go for a corner? Vaughan would have got a bit of stick, but QPR hadn’t looked as if they could score so far so surely we could handle a corner? No, he decided to pick it up. The indirect free kick was given immediately – well, there wasn’t any way anyone could argue with it, except Margetson who’d obviously forgotten the rules. The next thing he did was even more stupid. OK, the free kick’s been given. Do you (a) hang on to the ball and wait for some of your defence to get into the area in an attempt to make it slightly harder for the opposition to score, or (b) give it straight to Kevin Gallen, who says thanks very much and passes it straight to Mike Sheron (who else?) to calmly put it into the net because you’re still standing by your post complaining that the free kick’s been taken quickly? Imbecile.

It got worse. A few minutes later, Pollock was afflicted by the same brain-disappearing complaint that had resulted in QPR’s first goal. While running towards the City goal, he carefully headed the ball towards where he thought Margetson would be. Unfortunately he hadn’t bothered to check where Margetson actually was, so the header was aimed for someone standing about 10 feet further back. The inevitable result of this wonderful bit of defensive play was a lovely, looping header that went well over Margetson and into the empty net. How QPR celebrated. The tears returned to my eyes, for a completely different reason this time. Here you go lads, we’ll give you a two goal start because we don’t like things to be made easy. Tell you what, as it’s nearly the end of the season and we’re feeling generous, we’ll even score one of them for you.

Poor City. Poor Jamie – apparently this was his first ever own goal and he looked as if he felt personally responsible for our impending relegation. Poor us. We expected a collapse at this point, but City once again surprised us, and for the rest of the half provided some of the best attacking play I’ve seen this season. Horlock was inspired, running around like Paul Dickov but to infinitely more effect. Pollock hit the bar (why hadn’t he done that at the other end eh?), Horlock hit the bar, Whitley missed a good chance, Edghill put one wide, and as for Bradbury… Three misses come immediately to mind. There was one when he’d beaten the ‘keeper and sent the ball wide of the right hand post. There was one when he decided to jump and kick the ball, 5 feet in the air, instead of stooping and heading it, so the ball went wide of the left post. There was also one when all he had to do was hit it anywhere but at the ‘keeper and it would have gone in – so he hit it at the ‘keeper. Oh, for Alan Shearer up front, with the service Bradbury got on Saturday he’d have scored six. The ref was doing his best to help, he gave a couple of free kicks our way which were a bit dubious and didn’t give a penalty against Symons when I think we would all have done. He – and the linesman – were a lot closer to it than we were and neither of them saw anything wrong, so I suppose we’ll have to give Kit the benefit of the doubt on this occasion – and to be fair to him, he didn’t put a foot wrong in the rest of the game. Neither did Brannan, which was more of a surprise.

At the start of the second half Bradbury finally got the ball in the net. Goater did well to win the ball and knock it sideways to Bradbury, who luckily was unmarked and even more luckily didn’t have time to think about what he was doing. We’d equalised at last. Phew. The rest of the game seemed to pass in a blur. City pressed and pressed but couldn’t score. QPR couldn’t do anything. Sheron was pretty ineffectual (having done his bit of damage earlier) and the only QPR player who looked as if he might cause a threat was Gallen. I know it sounds unlikely that the defence played well when we let two goals in, but they did. Edghill’s distribution was as appalling as ever, but you can’t have everything. Kinkladze was taken off after about an hour because he was knackered, no surprise really as he hadn’t played a game for 6 weeks. Dickov came on and ran about as much as ever – he won a header at one point, amazing I know but it’s true. Pollock, who did not have a good game, and Brannan were replaced by Bishop and Russell but nothing was going to make any difference. City can be so good yet so awful in the same 90 minutes, what can we do other than despair? Quashie was sent off just before time for flooring Vaughan, but realistically he could have been sent off in the first minute and we wouldn’t have won. Is it a record, having people sent off against you in three matches out of four yet failing to win any of them?

Stoke on Sunday, we can win and still go down, just don’t let anybody start putting false rumours around that a draw will be good enough 10 minutes from time this year, please. I don’t think my emotions can stand being mangled like that all over again. And it one more person tells me that next year we’ll have a derby game against Macclesfield then I think I really will pretend I’m Vinny Jones and hit them…

Sharon Bennett



Start with the depressing news (both in terms of actual event and its obviousness), City are down. On the basis of this performance and, indeed, the entire season, there is no way we will beat Stoke so that’s it. Hello Autowindscreen Shield, FA Cup first round and the delights of Gillingham, Walsall and Bournemouth.

Anyway, the match. Again I think we played the brilliant, dynamic 5-3-2 formation with Brannan as the third centre back alongside Vaughan and Symons. After less than a minute it didn’t really seem to matter as Kinkladze was brought down, got up, took the free kick quickly, back of the net, crowd go absolutely berserk. Now all we needed to do was hold on for 90 minutes, or we could cock up after the far more realistic 5. Backpass to Margetson who picked it up when I felt he could easily have wellied it into touch or even behind for a corner. Instead it’s another quick free kick and another goal. Why didn’t Margetson hold on to the ball until the team had got organised? Again a lack of professionalism. About 10 minutes later, disaster. Pollock did everything right, got the ball away from the defender and set it up to head back to Margetson, cue a slow, looping header straight over him and into the back of the net. Stunned silence.

The rest of the half was largely City, Horlock hit the bar, Pollock glanced the top of it, Bradbury missed 4 or 5 half to decent chances, certainly one of which all he had to do was hit the target, Goater was unlucky. Mind you, QPR were perfectly happy with the lead as a point was all they needed so they didn’t exactly try although they did seem to be bossing the midfield and working harder for each other than City were. This may in part be because we were carrying Kinkladze who did virtually nothing all game.

At the start of the second half again an early goal as Bradbury turned in a cross at last and was happy about it to say the least. I still can’t help thinking that Alun Armstrong or Adebola or Phillips or numerous other strikers who cost considerably less than him would at least have been on a hat trick by now. The rest of the game deteriorated into mindless crap hoofing and misplaced passes. City didn’t really seem to know how to find another goal though despite QPR’s lack of adventure. A lack of people running off the ball, wanting the ball or indeed simply running was so depressing. The paucity of good crosses didn’t help either, what would we give for 4-4-2 with at least one wide player who could actually cross decently? I feel Bradbury, Rösler or Goater would thrive on this sort of service. It was all just so unimaginative (let’s hope this isn’t the trademark of the JR reign although it does look like it could be). At the end Quashie was sent off for punching Dickov (although I can’t believe Dickov was innocent I didn’t see him do anything) but then there was sod all chance of City scoring as QPR kept all ten behind the ball.

As far as the team was concerned, the basic problem is a lack of belief and imagination. The only creativity in the game for City went when Gio was subbed although I’m not saying there was a connection as it’s not like he did anything, but it was about then that the game went s****. Jim Whitley wasn’t very noticeable and Pollock could still up his passing ratio to a blue shirt and despite his motivational qualities there still doesn’t seem to be much belief in the team. It stuns me to say it but Brannan was one of our best players, is he like Wiekens a defender rather than a midfielder? Vaughan also looked decent in a strong centre half who can’t pass very well sort of way, and I think with Shelia would be a good pairing. However, I reckon Shelia will be off at the end of the season as well.

Anyway, yet another three points there for the taking which City abjectly failed to take. The story of the season. This’ll be my last match report for quite some time now, I hope some of you have found them useful, and unless Bristol Rovers fail to make the play-offs, I might not even get to see a local game next season. Here’s hoping for Sunday, but not really believing, with the even more depressing feeling that we won’t bounce back up straight away next year either. I already know of a Bournemouth and a Preston fan who really hope we go down because they can’t wait to play us next season, and that really doesn’t bode well as I can see all the teams being like that.

Thomas Bodey (


I nearly didn’t go on Saturday but the chance of a ticket for a fiver and of seeing Gio in a laser blue shirt for the last time found me duly filing into Maine Road along with 32,039 others. I have to say I wasn’t feeling exactly optimistic about the outcome of this game. I have never seen us pick up a single point against QPR and I kept having flashbacks to the trip I made to London, however many months ago, to see us get stuffed 2-0 at Loftus Road.

Anyway, I was there to see the team pay their respects to us, the long-suffering, tortured fans – they came out into the middle of the pitch 5-10 minutes before kick-off to lift up a long banner which said: Thank you for your loyal support. The round of applause they got as they turned to face each stand sent shivers up my spine and I realised that I couldn’t have been anywhere else that afternoon. We were also treated to an excrutiating rendition of Blue Moon by Vince “I am available for cabaret bookings, look, I can harmonise” Miller who kept encouraging us to join in and show the QPR fans what we are made of. I am pleased to say he was forced to go it alone (he was even singing the “proper” words!). After he’d ground to a halt, the whole ground, it seemed, sang the proper version of Blue Moon which nearly brought tears to my eyes! I know the team doesn’t deserve this sort of support, and I was nearly in tears for different reasons at the end of the game, but I am so glad everyone turned out to support the boys that day.

And what a start we got off to! After the goal (which I couldn’t really see ’cause I had a seat near the front in the North Stand), I almost considered going home ’cause I didn’t think I could take the pressure for the next 89 minutes! I couldn’t begin to attempt a match report, partly because I had a rubbish view for the first half, but we all know what happened next and the usual feeling of inevitability descended. The Pollock own-goal was a disaster. Funny, I couldn’t see Kinkladze’s free-kick, but I had an absolute sodding perfect view of Pollock’s and I swear it happened in slow motion. I remember thinking that I hope no one ever blames that Pollock goal for us going down. The rot had set in long before he arrived.

Anyway, the rest of the match whizzed by before me (with some disgraceful, un-punished tackles handed out by QPR. Goater was in a half-nelson right in front of the linesman who must have been rubbing his eyes at that moment ’cause nothing happened!). Some masochistic streak made me stay behind to see if the team had the nerve to do a so-called “lap of honour”. I was glad to see that they didn’t, they merely trotted out to the centre circle looking ashamed. I really stayed to have one last look at Kinkladze (who hadn’t looked fit at all). Some guy behind me was shouting “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” and I had to nod my head and agree because I cannot believe we’re getting relegated to the old 3rd Division. It’s an absolute disgrace and I am distraught at the thought because I think it will absolutely ruin the club and I can’t bear it.

When I left Maine Road the heavens opened and it absolutely threw it down – everyone was soaked to the skin in minutes. It was like a prophecy and I couldn’t have felt more depressed.

Next Sunday is going to be a nightmare and I feel sorry for you poor, brave souls who are going to Stoke. I think it will be a blood-bath both on and off the pitch. I can’t bear to listen to it on the radio, I am just going to avoid it until it’s all over.

Fingers, arms, legs, everything crossed and if, by some miracle, we do manage to stay up, I am getting absolutely plastered and will begin looking forward to next season to see if big Joe can make a difference and see how we get on without Gio and Uwe. I can’t think about the alternative.

Yours with knots in stomach and an extremely short fuse – Christine Haynes (


I knew that I wouldn’t have time to write this report after Saturday and before Monday, so I decided to write it Friday night.

Result: City 0 – QPR 0

Performance: marks out of ten;

Goalkeeper- 3
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous defender-4
annonymous midfielder-2
annonymous midfielder-2
annonymous forward-2
annonymous forward-2

To call the players ‘players’ seems inappropriate because they don’t. Play that is. What do you call a player that can’t play? An ‘er or an unplayer or how about Alan Kernaghan? Sorry Alan.

It’s not often that the man that looks best value on the pitch is the referee, but this season I’m voting for him as player of the season. We’ve seen some good linesmen too but I think the ref’s just shaded it.

As for details of the match, win, lose or draw, I can’t get excited about it. Are we supposed to celebrate if we avoid relegation? 40th best club in England and Wales? Marvellous! 41st best and we’ll have a chance to compete in the Auto Windscreen’s Cup.

Am I alone in harbouring a kind of masochistic hope that we do get relegated because I’m so sipped off at the way that club has been run (into the ground) over the last 20 years? I think that if we do go down, it’ll be a hell of a long time before we get back to the Premier League, if we ever do. Remember Wolves think they’re a ‘Big Club’.

Enough rambling rubbish. By the time you read this, we may be down. So bleeding what? I’m off.

CTTNBC (City ’til the next bus comes) Simon Fink (


Rösler is off at the end of the season, explaining his absence from the team on Saturday. He is off to the German Champions so he will play in the Champions’ League next season and not Division 2.

Mark Hughes is coming to Maine Road. It is said that he will bring stability back into the team. If we stay up Andre Kanchelskis will join Hughes at the Academy. He will give the team what we have been crying out for, an out and out winger.

It is expected 10,000 Blues will be at Stoke and police are worried about violence. As for myself I’m going for a walk somewhere, maybe Scotland where I can’t listen to the radio.

Andy Holgate (


Well, Joe Royle was right about one thing. It will go to the last game of the season. There are 27 permutations of the results involving Stoke, Man City, Port Vale and Portsmouth. Here are the possibilities as I see it. Put simply, if City win, they are guaranteed safety unless both Port Vale and Portsmouth also win. A draw would almost certainly see us down, unless Vale and Portsmouth lose too, and we score one goal more than Vale.

Stoke City vs. Man City
Bradford vs. Portsmouth
Huddersfield vs. Port Vale

Reading vs. Norwich is now irrelevant as Reading are already relegated.

If City Lose

If City lose at Stoke, City are definitely down, and Stoke are safe, unless both Vale and Portsmouth win, then Stoke are down too, unless also Bury lose at QPR (and Stoke, Vale and Portsmouth win), then Bury could go down, unless they score one more goal than Stoke. If either Port Vale or Portsmouth win, but not both, the team that wins will be safe, and so will Bury.

City Draw

If City draw with Stoke, and Vale and Portsmouth lose, City must score one more goal than Vale to stay up on goal difference, and send Vale and Portsmouth down. If not City go down with Portsmouth. But if either Vale or Portsmouth draw or win, City go down with Stoke and Portsmouth, unless Portsmouth win and Vale only draw, then Vale go down.

City Win

If City win, Stoke are definitely down. If Vale and Portsmouth both lose, City definitely stay up. Portsmouth will go down, unless they score 4 more goals than Vale in defeat (unlikely). Then Vale would go down. If either Vale or Portsmouth win (but not both), the team that wins stays up with City, the other going down. If both Vale and Portsmouth draw, City definitely stay up with Vale, unless Portsmouth’s draw is 4 more than Vale’s, e.g. 0-0 and 4-4 (again unlikely), then Vale go down and Portsmouth stay up. If both Vale and Portsmouth win, City go down with Stoke.

Below is a Permutation Table:

Col 1 = Stoke City vs. Man City
Col 2 = Bradford vs. Portsmouth
Col 3 = Huddersfield vs. Port Vale
Col 4 = Stoke Final points
Col 5 = Man City Final points
Col 6 = Port Vale Final points
Col 7 = Portsmouth Final points
"R" after points means "relegated"
H H H 49  45R  46   46R
H H D 49  45R  47   46R
H H A 49  45R  49   46R
H D H 49  45R  46R  47
H D D 49  45R  47   47R*   unless P'mouth score 4 more than Vale
H D A 49  45R  49   47R
H A H 49  45R  46R  49
H A D 49  45R  47R  49
H A A 49R 45R  49   49
D H H 47  46R* 46   46R	   unless City score one more than Vale
D H D 47  46R  47   46R
D H A 47  46R  49   46R
D D H 47  46R  46R  47
D D D 47  46R  47   47R
D D A 47R 46R  49   47
D A H 47  46R  46R  49
D A D 47R 46R  47   49
D A A 47R 46R  49   49
A H H 46R 48   46   46R*   unless P'mouth score 4 more than Vale
A H D 46R 48   47   46R
A H A 46R 48   49   46R
A D H 46R 48   46R  47
A D D 46R 48   47   47R*   unless P'mouth score 4 more than Vale
A D A 46R 48   49   47R
A A H 46R 48   46R  49
A A D 46R 48   47R  49
A A A 46R 48R  49   49

Steve Kay (


So here it is, this is what it all boils down to…

City Lose

If we lose then we’re down. No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.

City Win

We stay up as long Portsmouth and Port Vale don’t both win.

City Draw

This is where it gets a bit more complicated! If City draw then this is what has to happen for us to stay up:

  • Portsmouth and Port Vale both lose.
  • City score 1 more goal than Port Vale.

Summary: Directions to Wycombe anyone?

Steve Maclean (


This week’s best:

24 Jonathan Oakes (Port Vale)  Tranmere, Stoke, Reading
24 Andy Howarth (Crewe)        Man City, Stoke, Reading
21 Mike Hesp (Tranmere)        Port Vale, Man City, Reading
21 Nizam Idris (Man City)      Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
21 Matthew Ashton (Bury)       Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
21 Dominic Martinez (Bury)     Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
21 Nick Ramsden (Man City)     Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
21 Chris Loveridge (Man City)  Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
21 Gary King (Man City)        Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
21 Paul de Sousa (Man City)    Bury, Port Vale, Reading
21 Nigel Freestone (Ipswich)   Port Vale, Man City, Reading

Current Leaders:

161 24 Andy Howarth (Crewe)          Man City, Stoke, Reading
152 18 Steve Welch (Man City)        Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
149 21 Nizam Idris (Man City)        Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
149 21 Paul de Sousa (Man City)      Bury, Port Vale, Reading
146 24 Jonathan Oakes (Port Vale)    Tranmere, Stoke, Reading
146 21 Chris Loveridge (Man City)    Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
146 18 Phil Yeomans (Crewe)          Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
143 21 Mike Hesp (Tranmere)          Port Vale, Man City, Reading
143 21 Nigel Freestone (Ipswich)     Port Vale, Man City, Reading
143 18 Geoff Donkin (Man City)       Reading, Port Vale, Stoke
143 18 Clive Schofield (Man City)    Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
140 18 Martin Charlesworth (Stoke)   Portsmouth, Port Vale, Reading
140 18 Niall Fitzpatrick (Man City)  Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
140 18 Steve Ryding (Man City)       QPR, Port Vale, Reading
140 18 Ian Howarth (Man City)        QPR, Stoke, Reading
140 12 Jonathan Thomson (Stockport)  Port Vale, Man City, Reading

One week to go!

Steve Kay (


To cheer myself at this time of peril, I’ve created a webpage of anti-Man. United fan jokes. The address is:

I hope you like it.

Dan Nunn. CTIDTGKW – City Till I Die Though God Knows Why (


(random ramblings from Noel Bayley, editor of BTH)

I always knew it would finish like this, it always does. Yes, I know I said in a ‘Bert’ Editorial only a few months ago that I thought we’d get away with the drop this year, but on reflection, that was probably just wishful thinking, for Manchester City are fated. Of course I hope – like everyone else hopes – that we can avoid it, but to be honest, I’ve been fearing the worst for a while. Let’s face it, if you cannot beat arse teams like Birmingham and QPR at home, even with the backing of huge crowds, can we even dare hope for First Division football?

Moreover, the manager’s strange decision to leave out the club’s most talented player whilst, shall we say, ‘lesser lights’ like Richard Edghill are permanent fixtures hasn’t exactly done us any favours either. Would Newcastle allow Alan Shearer to go pottering round the shops on Saturday afternoons? Either way, Gio’s welcome return to the first team last Saturday and his sensational early goal only proved what we all knew anyway… Sadly, it’s a bit late in the day to tell Joe Royle, “I told you so.”

So it’s all set up for next Sunday. I’m as pessimistic as ever; after all, when was the last time City won a game they couldn’t lose? Charlton in 1985, perhaps? Too often we have heard this season that the expectations of the Maine Road crowd are too much for them. Well boys, you’re away so you’ve got no excuses this time. Pride In Battle and all that. Naturally, they’ll be a huge travelling contingent with legitimate tickets, ill-gotten tickets and no tickets. The city expects…

But if we do go down, what then? Provided we can all get away from Stoke in one piece (I’ve already got one appointment with fear there as a fellow City fan has threatened to “Sort me out” for making light of David Bernstein’s unfortunate speech impediment!), it’ll take a while to sink in and then, after staying in the house for about a week to take stock and ask the gods ‘Why?”, it’ll be straight down to Halford’s for a new road map to check out all those odd places like Wycombe, Gillingham and what-have-you. Finally, I apologise in advance for making light of what, for many, will be the end of the world if it happens, but it’s the only way. And besides, we have done our bit this season, all season and many of us have already splashed out on next year’s season tickets come what may. Now it is up to the players like never before. Hopefully, by this time next week I’ll have been proved wrong…

Noel Bayley (


I work for Graham Watson, the M.E.P. who is leading the legal case against the French World Cup ticketing authorities for breach of articles 85 & 86 of the EU treaties which cover unfair trading practices (such as keeping 60% of all tickets for French citizens only – highly illegal!).

Any horror stories about trying to get through to the ticket “hotline” would be gratefully received.

Stephen Fenton, Taunton: Please forward all tales and experiences to


Wow! What a bloody fantastic weekend. The lads gave it their best but someone, somewhere as got it in for our boys in blue.

The merry gang of Galway Blues set off from Galway Airport early Friday afternoon, our destination Manchester, via a stopover in Dublin for a trip to the duty free and a few more beers. There were 4 in our party, myself (obviously), Brendan Hynes, Mike (the babe magnet) Freil (see our exploits to the Wolves game in an earlier issue) and me mam! Yep Howie de Blue, 38 years of age, married with 4 kids has to go to matches with his mam! Naw, not really, one of the lads had broken his ankle and was unable to travel so me mam went to stay at Our Kids’ for the week end, saved the other 3 musketeers forking out £30 each for an empty seat.

The journey over wasn`t very eventful. At the stopover in Dublin we saw all types, there was one guy who looked about 15 with a pilot’s uniform on, he wandered around aimlessly studying the departure boards/screens, we all burst out laughing and hoped that he wasn’t flying our plane ’cause we`d never find Manchester if he couldn`t find the bloody plane!

When we got to Manchester, we were met by our respective landlords for the week-end, Mike and Brendan were staying in Chadderton with Simon and I was staying in Staly Vegas with Ste a.k.a. Sikpupi. As we left the departure lounge Ste said “I hope my Land Rover don`t break down as it`s been playing up all week”; (sorry Ste if that ain’t word perfect but it`s early Monday morning and I`m sitting here in my undies in a drunken haze). The said piece of prime British Technology went “Phut, Phut, Phut!” and died going up a hill. On the spot surgery failed to kick the Land Rover into life and Ste phoned for us to be rescued, credit to Joyce(?) who towed us home. As I entered Ste`s abode I was introduced to the most frightening sight of my few years; No, Ste didn`t take off any of his clothes, it was his boxer dog Thor! This fella frightened the bloody life out of me but over the weekend we became very good friends, as was evident when he sat on my lap as we watched the footie on Sky on Sunday. I wasn`t comfortable but this dog sits where he wants to and I wasn’t going to upset him!

Friday night we sat up late talking City, watching telly and downing little bottles of Dutch stuff, dynamite oh and getting battered at Fifa 98. But Ste reckoned I was better than Jim Whitley at Fifa and he should know ’cause he`s tonked both of us at it, but snigger not Ste ’cause I`m going to practice till the next time I come over… revenge!

After we donned our blue permed Scouser wigs; Ste`s girl Julie dropped us into Manchester so that I could get some pressies for the girls at home and we headed for the Arndale. I ended up buying nowt, whereas Ste shelled out for a Jamaica shirt with “Eek the Mouse” “9” on the back and some City gear for his godchildren. Taxi to the Parkside where the footie feeling kicked in, there was “Uwe Rizla” and his missus, Thomas from Austria, who I kept asking “How is Norway?”, “H” who has become a trendy Blue since he moved to London, I was introduced to Chorlton Blue, and a lovely lady with blonde hair from the Midlands who told me her name but I`m sorry I forgot, if she reads this and e-mails me then I’ll remember. The drink flowed and the singing began… Usual stuff, one lad nearly burst a blood vessel. Before we left Ste`s house I had read the first couple of chapters of “Guvnors”; perhaps that’s why I was a little wary about walking around Moss Side on Saturday, which was something I`d never been before!

Bert Trautmann’s Brace arrived looking for his tickets; and Wookie made a brief appearence before we left, and Bob Young was there too with his brother and nephew who was going to the game for the first time. Ste did us proud with the tickets, front row Kippax, we took up our seats just before the lads came out with the banner thanking us for our support, the atmosphere was incredible and the tension could be cut with a knife. QPR fans had the usual North Stand section but City had the B & Q stand, as usual the team was announced to the crowd #1 Martyn Margetson etc. till he came to Gio #10; the place went ballistic, never heard a reaction like it since Colin Bell`s return all those years ago. We all knew this was his swansong and I am privileged to be able to say that I was there. The game kicked off; free kick City; goal Gio Kinkladze… What a start…

Then you all know the rest, 2 joke goals; loads of chances missed; after Jamie hit the bar; then we hit the bar again I accidently punched a lady in front of me who was sitting down, and it was a hard smack; I never felt so embarassed; she was very good about it; Ste started singing “He beats up girls… Howie beats up girls… !” The second half was a few minutes old when Bradders put us level, one alledged City fan was having a go at Bradders all match; prehaps it`s ’cause I`m now classed as out-of-towner, but I can`t see what benefit it is to deride our own players, especially on such an important day as this.

After Bradders scored he celebrated by running the length of the Kippax waving his shirt; I`m sure he was looking at me and asking if I`d swop my blue wig for it. Then Jamie Pollock was staring directly at me trying to gee up the crowd… I thought he was offering me out… no chance Jamie, you’re the man! The rest as they say is history; try as we might we just couldn’t get the winner. Then it was time for Gio`s farewell; and the final whistle. QPR fans and players celebrate, and out come the Blues to say bye for the season; I admit I had a tear in my eyes, I know we’re going down in my heart; it hurts. Just before we leave the stadium I do my ususal ritual of having a last look… Ah well till next time.

As we leave the ground Manchester gets hit by Monsoon rain, even the man above was taking the p**s, back to the Parkside; it`s like a morgue; no one wants to talk about it. I say “If…”; but bollax what’s the use. Out on the town in Stally Vegas on Saturday night; I`m sure a trip there would benefit anyone who needs altitude training for climbing Everest; as they would say at home in Ireland “They have that much land in Stalybridge that they have to pile it up!”

Sunday morning woken up with a sloppy wet kiss; from Thor! All day spent watching footie on TV; then home. As I said at the start “What a bloody fantastic weekend”; great to see some of the TG`ers; already looking forward to weekends away next season. Last word has to be about Sikpupi; if you ever want to go to Maine Road and enjoy youself then get a seat near Ste; he`s a class man with PC`s; but the guy is wasted doing that job; he`s a natural born comedian. If ya can`t find him; look for the guy in the Jamaica shirt singing “City made me bald!”

Howie de Blue – always has been; always will be (


The Pride Of Manchester – Man City icon collection has changed address. The link for the new site is:

Please update bookmarks, links etc.

David Yates (


Now it’s official. We are the laughing stock of the country. This is the start of a Leader in yesterday’s ‘The Times’ (22/4/98).

The latest signing for the England football squad is a 57-year-old faith healer. Eileen Drewery met the England coach, Glenn Hoddle, when she was the landlady of his local pub, The Shark, in Harlow. She discovered her healing powers after a near-death experience in 1974. This was not, it seems, watching Manchester City play…

David Butler (


In a last ditch attempt to neutralise the appalling curse bestowed upon MCFC by my hopelessly misguided Offical Excuse List at the start of the season, I have mixed bats’ testicles and extract of Alan Ball’s flat-cap to produce a run-in Excuse List for our rival strugglers…

Stoke City

25th AprilhawaySunderlandPre-match snacks were provided by that dodgy butcher off that Premiership Passions programme.
3rd MayhomeMan CityTeam unsettled by old school photos of Jamie Pollock pushed under dressing room door.

Port Vale

24th AprilhomeMiddlesbroughBrian Robson and Gazza breathed vodka fumes through the keyhole during the team talk.
3rd MayawayHuddersfieldTerry Yorath obviously bribed the ref with the services of a sheep of dubious morality.


25th AprilawayMan CityOverwhelmed by “Diedre is Out” jubilation at Maine Road.
3rd MayhomeBurySquad were confused by the gift of a black pudding from the vistors. They thought it must be some sort of dirty protest and were overawedby the sheer diameter of the thing.


25th AprilhomeHuddersfieldTeam distracted by a pitch invasion involving 243 perplexed sheep dogs and sixfire engines responding to a bogus smoke alarm report. Incident later blamed on Alan Ball’s squeaky rantings.
3rd MayawayBradfordDefence distracted by hundreds of decoy poppadum frisbees hurled by the crowd into the six-yard box during every Bradford corner kick.

Robert Lever – MoK


Scully is not playing for QPR on Saturday due to a clause in his contract installed by City when we sold him. Doesn’t this just prove that the club realise(d) what a threat he can be, so I repeat my old claim ‘why the hell did we sell him?’

Gio coming back is very welcome. The feelings of Blues have been well documented but I’m more worried about what this says about Royle’s ability as manager. At first the Pollock inspired ‘trench mentality’ was a breath of fresh air. However, now it is not producing the goods up front. I’m not a pessimist but us Blues know a thing or two about managers persuing tactics which are fundamentally flawed.

Finally, how true are the rumours of Kappa dumping us if we do go down? Looking at the situation rationally you can see that they would. However, what is the legal situation? Can they jump out of the contract, is there a clause? Which brings me neatly back to the start.

P.S. Does anyone out there want to be my bodyguard for the Stoke game as I’m beginning to fear for my safety.

CTTRTKFMB (City till they rip the Kappa from my back) Tony Peachment (


I’m writing this on the eve of the big day. Well, here we go, Gio is back but I feel his mind won’t be in it, although he may want a big goodbye, we will have to see. I’m going to be in the Main Stand tomorrow and we have to win, but I just can’t see it as we are p**s poor right now and unfortunately, I am 17, so I’ve never seen anything but that standard. Hey, maybe we can take the Auto Windscreen next year (probably not), but I think we have to accept that we could well be down and if we lose, we are. I think people will underestimate the division as well, in my opinion, this team wouldn’t rip up any trees in Division 2 either.

Player of the season; I don’t think it’s possible to pick anyone. Pollock has looked possibly the best but he’s not played enough. I may be tempted to give it to Gio as a goodbye and for the West Ham game but it’s an easier decision to make than worst player of the year, where there are at least 20 candidates. Good luck Gio in the future, but most of all “Come on City we must win.”

Dave Norcross Radcliffe (


No-one can call that ref – Ken Leech (according to the prog.) – of being a ‘homer’! According to him it’s OK to use a player as a stepladder to get to the ball – but only if you are wearing a red shirt. Talk about unbelievable! Still, 1 point… all we need now is a win at Stoke and a bl##dy miracle.

In the Lancashire League, ‘A’ team is a player called Alan Bailey who has scored 12 goals in 22 appearances – why not stick him in the first team – can’t do any worse…

Colin Paxton (


Well, I’m afraid it looks like Torquay, Macclesfield and Oldham will be visiting Maine Road next season. I personally believe our hopes of avoiding relegation disappeared with the draw with QPR. Not only do we have to win at Stoke (a difficult task for City these days), but we also have to hope Portsmouth and Port Vale lose. Pompey are playing a Bradford side beaten 5-0 by Crewe at the weekend and with nothing left to play for. Port Vale were very unlucky not to at least draw with Boro last Friday, and they shouldn’t find Huddersfield (another side with nothing left to play for) difficult to beat. That leaves ourselves and Stoke to go down with Reading.

Charles Pollitt (


I can’t comment about the game as I couldn’t be there, and it will all be said by others anyway. My gripe, which I still can’t believe happened, they sacked the ‘keeper and allowed him to play in such an important game! Would you risk a broken neck for a boss who has just dismissed you on your last day at work? No way.

These people can’t be trusted with the housekeeping let alone a big football club!

Totally cheesed off, Arthur Levio (


What are we going to do if we go down? Surely we can’t let the club get away with charging us £300 to sit in the Main Stand to see another season of our dross team but this time playing against; Macclesfield, Northampton, Oldham, Blackpool etc.

Do you know that Macc. charge £90 for their season tickets. Will anyone join me in a protest! I want money back! Mail me…

Simon Jones – Donkey (


Has any Panini sticker collector yet worked out what you’re supposed to do with the Spanish players – all the other teams have stickers but the Spaniards get cut out cards for some reason.

By the way there are no City players available – the only two ex-Blues you can get are the partnership of Colin Hendry (Scotland) and Fitzroy Simpson (Jamaica).

Ben Cavanagh (


If anyone has any spares please contact me ASAP.

Martin (, also
Ashley Hevicon


It was September 1974, I was eight and this was my baptism. I climbed to the top of the steps at the back of the stand and saw the ground with 50,000 talking, drinking, smoking, chanting fans surrounding the early season, sunny pitch. It was too much to take in, my legs gave way and I tripped over. I wasn’t embarrassed, I was too overwhelmed. The noise took hold and shook my little body. We beat Liverpool 2-1. Afterwards we crushed towards the exit, I couldn’t keep by the side of my dad, he was swept forward, then I was carried past him. What a day, that’s Why Blue.

The next year I had my first season ticket. The whole book cost £5, to see every single home game, both Division One and Central League. I always walked to the ground, and a few years later I’d walk to the Swamp on odd Saturdays. This wasn’t heresy, this was superficial, not worship. I played football, in my own way. On one Saturday morning, on a cold school pitch in Wythenshawe, Harry Gregg scouting for the dark side came to watch. I wasn’t tempted to impress and so I wasn’t disappointed when he pushed off to his next game after 5 minutes.

I only saw Colin Bell play for a season, and then make cameo appearances a few years later, but he has been my most oustanding player from the last 24 years. Gio’s ball skills are entertaining, but Colin Bell lifted his polished football from the top drawer every week.

Matthew Briggs (


Full-time score for Sunday, April 26 1998

Nottingham  Forest        1 - 0 Reading
Bart-Williams  (87)

Full-time scores for Saturday, April 25 1998

Bury                      0 - 1 Ipswich  Town                              
                                Stockwell (75) 
Charlton  Athletic        2 - 0 Tranmere  Rovers
Mendonca (pen 11, pen 63)
Crewe  Alexandra          5 - 0 Bradford  City
Anthrobus (20)
Street (26)
Little (30, 39, 65)
Manchester  City          2 - 2 Queens Park Rangers
Kinkladze (1)                   Sheron (8)
Bradbury (48)                   Pollock (og 21) 
Norwich  City             5 - 0 Swindon Town
Llewellyn (16)
Jackson (34)
Roberts (51)
Bellamy (68)
Fenn (76)
Oxford  United            0 - 2 Birmingham City
                                Ford (og 73)
                                Furlong (85)   
Portsmouth                3 - 0 Huddersfield Town
Pethick (27)
Thomson (60)
Durnin  (70)   
Sheffield  United         2 - 4 West Bromwich Albion
Stuart (pen 9)                  Hunt (30)
Marcello (69)                   Hughes (65, 78)
                                Kilbane (72)   
Sunderland                3 - 0 Stoke City
Williams (6)
Phillips (54, 88)   
Wolverhampton Wanderers  3 - 4 Stockport  County
Keane (5, 59)                  Cooper (pen 40, pen 83)
Atkins (45)                    Byrne (57, 86)

Full-time score for Friday, April 24 1998

Port Vale                0 - 1 Middlesbrough
                               Merson (2)

Up to and including Saturday, April 25 1998

                              	HOME             AWAY                    
	                 P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A    Pts   GS   
Nottm  Forest         	44 17  2  3 51 20  10  7  5 29 21     90   80
Sunderland       	44 14  7  2 49 22  11  5  5 35 25     87   84
Charlton              	45 17  5  1 48 17   9  4  9 32 32     87   80
Middlesbrough        	44 16  3  2 46 10  10  6  7 26 29     87   72
Ipswich               	44 12  5  4 42 18   9  9  5 30 23     77   72
Sheff  Utd            	43 16  5  2 44 20   3 11  6 21 28     73   65
Birmingham          	45 10  7  5 27 15   9  9  5 33 20     73   60
Wolverhampton        	44 13  6  4 42 25   5  4 12 13 25     64   55
Stockport               45 13  6  3 45 21   5  2 16 25 48     62   70
West  Brom            	45  9  7  6 26 25   7  5 11 23 30     60   49
Oxford  Utd           	45 12  6  5 36 20   4  4 14 23 40     58   59
Bradford              	45 10  9  3 25 20   4  6 13 20 36     57   45
Crewe                 	44  9  2 11 28 33   8  3 11 26 28     56   54
Huddersfield         	45  9  5  8 28 24   5  6 12 22 44     53   50
Norwich               	45  9  8  6 32 27   4  5 13 19 42     52   51
Tranmere              	44  8  7  6 29 22   5  6 12 20 31     52   49
Swindon               	45  9  6  7 27 23   5  4 14 14 48     52   41
QPR                   	45  8  9  5 28 20   2 10 11 23 42     49   51
Bury                  	45  7 10  6 22 22   3  9 10 19 36     49   41
Port Vale            	45  7  6 10 25 24   5  4 13 27 42     46   52
Portsmouth            	45  8  6  9 28 30   4  4 14 20 32     46   48
Stoke                 	45  8  5  9 28 35   3  8 12 14 34     46   42
Man City              	45  6  6 11 28 26   5  6 11 23 29     45   51
Reading               	44  8  4 10 27 30   3  5 14 12 46     42   39

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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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.

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Newsletter #393