Newsletter #394

This is the last issue before what can only be described as a ‘crunch’ game, not only because it has the potential to consign us to the obscurity of Division 2, but also because it has the potential for some serious crowd trouble. I have to say that the gay abandon with which Stoke have sold tickets to away fans (in the home sections) is nothing short of reckless. I find it astounding that appearing at the Stoke ticket office in laser blue shirt and asking for 15 tickets in a home stand did not ring any alarm bells with the home officials. Now, it seems they are trying to backtrack, with extra stewarding and the threat of ejection for anyone suspected of being a Blue. I’m afraid at least one team is going down come Sunday and with Stoke City’s infamously loony faction and the club’s idiotic ticketing policy (none at all, seemingly), there will inevitably be trouble – let’s hope we are not the cause.

This issue has a news summary, a review of Colin Shindler’s book ‘Man United ruined my life’, some not very uplifting news on David Morley… and the key bit of news we’ve all been waiting for… directions to Wycombe! There’s also the usual opinion – including a dissection of why we support City – and a Why Blue. Lastly, Gareth Foster has also sent the answers to his ‘teasers’ which were included a few issues ago.

2,028 can’t be wrong, can they? Roll on Sunday…

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


Shorter again than I’d like tonight but to be honest there’s not really a lot happening as the club tries desperately to maintain a steady ship off the field for once, to allow the players a chance to concentrate on the task in hand. To be honest I’ve convinced myself now that it’s all totally pointless anyway and we’re going down so I’m (almost) fully prepared to be playing the likes of Oldham next season. Anything else will be a bonus of trouser expanding proportions I think.

News then. Uwe’s gone to Kaiserslautern on a free (apologies if this was covered last issue but I haven’t actually had a chance to sit down and read it yet!), and in the M.E.N. made all the expected ‘didn’t want it to end like this’ and ‘I’ll never forget the City fans’ noises, which may well be fine sentiments but to my mind seem pretty hollow as the whole affair smacks of a rat deserting a fast sinking ship. By all accounts the offer made to Rösler was nothing short of staggering given his lack of achievement of late and personally I’m not buying into all this ‘last chance to sign a big contract’ rubbish. If you don’t fancy Division 2 mate, do us a favour and come out and say it eh? Then again, I shouldn’t be too hard on him because he gave us some pretty good times I suppose…

A rumour’s been doing the rounds over the last few days (it was printed in one of the national dailies, can’t remember which) that Ian Livingstone – multi-millionaire of Fighting Fantasy book fame and Eidos chairman, not too mention lifelong City fan – is heading a consortium planning a takeover at Maine Road in the Summer. I have it straight from the horse’s mouth that this is not the case. Although the wry smile on his face when he said ‘I wouldn’t invest Monopoly money in City’ means that I didn’t altogether believe him! He did say that he has been having meetings with members of the City board but wouldn’t say why. He is Blue through and through and I’d definitely say that some major investment is more than possible, although more likely in a hands-off kind of rôle in my opinion. I’ll keep digging around and hopefully asking the right questions, and who knows, MCIVTA may get some of the biggest news from Maine Road lately as an exclusive! I’ll keep you posted…

A farcical situation has arisen surrounding Gio’s availability for Sunday. It’s funny actually that JR is now desperate to get clearance for a player he didn’t deem worthy of a place only a fortnight ago. Just a shame that the majority of City fans could see that what Royle was steadfastly refusing to even contemplate could well be enough to get the extra points we needed to stay up. When Royle arrived everyone said that if we go down no one could possibly blame him and I agreed. Let’s just say I’ve certainly changed my mind on that particular point now.

Anyway, Kinkladze has been called up to play in a meaningless international friendly for Georgia (I think it’s in Tunisia, but can’t quite remember) and it seems that if the Georgian coach refuses to back down then Gio will miss the Stoke match. It is thought though that he will be released for City on the condition that he flies out to meet the squad immediately after the game. This would unfortunately mean that he misses the chance of a farewell appearance on the hallowed home turf in Wednesday night’s friendly against Jamaica, which is a shame, but I know which game I’d rather he played in! But of course Royle will probably drop him again anyway in the meantime…

Speaking of the Stoke game, the thousands of City fans who couldn’t get a ticket will have been relieved to hear that Sky have chosen to show the game live. Actually, I’m not sure that it’s all that much of a relief. I asked one City supporting friend today who wasn’t lucky enough to get a ticket if he was going to watch it and he said no, he was going to lock himself in a room where he couldn’t see or hear a TV and try to never find out the score!

I suppose it’s a pity that Sky didn’t make their minds up a bit earlier because if ever there was a powder keg waiting to explode then it’s a match of such importance between two teams whose fans have a history of clashing in even insignificant circumstances! It’s thought that up to 4,000 City fans have snapped up tickets in the home sections of the crowd and with at least one side definitely heading for Division 2 then I’d put my house on it kicking off big time. Stoke have tried to compensate by providing 250 police and an extra 200 stewards for the game but let’s be realistic, it’s not going to be enough is it! If you’re one of those 4,000 then be warned, gatemen and police have orders to turn away any fan wearing City colours of any kind without exception…

And that’s it. Possibly my last First Division news summary for a long time. Fingers crossed for a miracle then but if it doesn’t happen I hope none of you get too down hearted about it all. Let’s face it, we’ve hardly been watching top class football this year have we, and I personally won’t be shedding a tear at not having to go to Tranmere again next year! Who knows, we may even see a few home wins next season if we do go down (although I’m not banking on that either)! I think I’ll treat it as a big adventure.

Most of all though I hope that everyone going to Stoke on Sunday gets through it unscathed both emotionally and physically…

Keep the faith, Steve McNally (


TITLE          Manchester United Ruined My Life
AUTHOR         Colin Shindler
PUBLISHER      Headline - A division of Hodder Headline plc
ADDRESS        338 Euston Rd,
	       London NW1 3BH
DATE           May 1998
ISBN NUMBER    0 7472 2174 X
PRICE          £14.99

This book should be entitled: Manchester City ruined my life. ‘Lifelong’ Blue, Shindler makes no secret of his admiration for Man U throughout the book. Admittedly, he is not too enamoured of the current crop of young rottweilers, but get him on Best, Law, Charlton… In fact he seems to spend rather a lot of time down at Old Trafford, watching the team who ‘ruined his life’.

There is not enough Man City and too much of Shindler’s unrelated family life to read about in this book, which is essentially a straight autobiography, with a bit of a football theme. The Man City recollections smacked of cut and paste, not true memories. In an attempt to fool us that he didn’t once dip into Rothmans, he says of a goal in the derby in March ’68 at OT: “… the unexpected balding head of George Heslop met (the ball) with a firm header. It was Heslop’s first and, I think, without recourse to the record books only goal for City.” Well it wasn’t. Heslop scored three goals in his career at Man City. Perhaps this fading memory of ye olde bygone days is supposed to be part of the book’s inherent charm? However it’s moments like this that irritate. Especially as later in the book he proves that he knows more about the players than they themselves do.

The book concentrates heavily on the halcyon days. In fact you suspect that he has rarely seen City in the past twenty years or so and like that other charlatan, Nick Hornby (who made a career out of partially supporting Arsenal and preferring to watch Cambridge United whilst at Uni… instead of making the one-hour trip back to London), Shindler also falls for many of the Cambridge charms as an excuse not to follow his ‘beloved’ team. On the day City were playing Tottenham in the penultimate game of 67/68… Colin misses the game by spending the day with some fellow undergraduate, trying to get her to explain why she had resisted his amorous intent the previous night. This is unforgivable.

The book is salvaged by one genuinely interesting chapter. In 1971 Shindler wrote to Joe Mercer, asking if he could train with the team, in order to write about a club from the inside. Mercer agrees and Colin becomes one of the lads for a couple of months. This works well and offers an insight into the great side of that time. It is written with genuine wit and affection. Look out for the wit and wisdom of Alan Oakes. I asked Colin Shindler why he had titled the book so, instead of celebrating the Man City angle/alternative. He said that his publishers told him it would sell more with Man U in the title. It’s up to you to prove them right or wrong.

Kev Cummins (


I understand that there’s a book due out in the next week or two called “Manchester United Ruined My Life”. I liked the comment I saw on this from someone (I’ve forgotten who) saying that he wouldn’t contribute because it was Manchester City who’d ruined his life. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading it. Like all of us, I can identify with the theme of a life which is ticking along nicely in most respects being blighted by an emotional attachment to the long-running Maine Road drama.

I’m not trying to hold myself up as a major success story here. There are plenty of people who’ve achieved more with their lives than me. On the other hand, I’m probably more fortunate than many. I have my health, a close family, plenty of good friends with whom I’m in regular contact, a partner I love dearly and a promising career which enables me to enjoy a decent standard of living. Of course, I have my problems too, but the biggest cause of worry and soul-searching in my life is the performance of our mates from Moss Side.

This transcends all logic and if I hadn’t grown up in a football supporting environment, I’m sure I’d also be unable to understand why people get so worked up about a bunch of blokes paid to chase a ball round a big field. To my Russian girlfriend, it’s a complete mystery. Rather than use the normal word for a football fan, she uses the Russian word “fanat” to describe me. This means “fanatic”, and carries overtones of dangerously unbalanced behaviour – it’s also the word she’d use to describe a suicide bomber in Beirut, for example.

When I think of how it must look to her eyes, it’s probably not altogether surprising that she thinks in these terms. She’s seen me insist that we stay up until the early hours so I can phone home for the results of night matches (Russia is three hours ahead of the UK). She’s seen me on my hands and knees in front of the decoder box manually scrolling through 125 teletext pages one by one to get news from the satellite channel BBC Prime – for some reason, it’s impossible to access text via the remote control. She’s seen me go at a stroke from contentment to utter despondency because of miserable tidings either from Maine Road or whichever godforsaken away ground has witnessed the latest catastrophe.

If anyone thinks it’s easier being an exiled fan, or that passion for the club simply dissipates after a move abroad, think again. I’m not claiming to be City’s most devoted supporter by any means – I know there are plenty who put me to shame on that score. On the other hand, I think it’s fair to say I’ve paid my dues. A regular attender of home games since the age of six, I started travelling away in my teens and have even seen my share of reserve and youth team games too. I’ve had a life which has taken me away from Manchester for large chunks of the last ten years, but have spent much time and money which should have been destined for other purposes on returning to Maine Road or attending viable away fixtures. When this is impossible, the results still have the same, disproportionate importance.

Of course, everything is fine when the news is good. Obviously, I would dearly love money to be no object and to be able to jet in for every game, and undoubtedly, our (painfully few) triumphs are sweeter for me when I am present to witness them. However, I am realistic enough to appreciate that I will only attend a handful of games while my life follows its current course, and even in this wretched season I have derived considerable enjoyment from hearing from afar of, say, the unexpected win at Forest or the six-goal victory over Swindon. The best example of this kind of pleasure is when I was in Cologne on 23 September 1989. While there is no question that I would have preferred to be at Maine Road, it is still a great day which evokes marvellous memories – phoning home to find out the score and running back to the youth hostel through the rain then up four flights of stairs to convey the scoreline breathlessly to my (non-City supporting) travelling companion; floating round the city that evening as if I was walking on air; spending about DM 20 on a phone call to my dad just so I could hear all the details repeated; and, on my return home a week later, watching the video of the Granada TV highlights over and over again.

There’s no doubt that was the highlight of my following City from a distance. The low point is difficult to identify, as this season has produced so many. Ringing my parents on midweek nights in October and early November to find out fortress Maine Road had been breached by poor sides like Stoke, Port Vale and Huddersfield was bitterly disappointing, and made me think that my summer promotion aspirations for this season had been hopelessly unrealistic. Making a brief five day visit home for Christmas and listening to the Boxing Day commentary from Gresty Road as City stumbled to a defeat against Crewe was another black day. Despite the odd result which brought hope, things got no better.

In the New Year, I twice (against Charlton and Ipswich) slightly underestimated the time the match would finish, so called home when injury time was still being played. Twice during the course of my phone calls, City conceded crucial goals costing vital points. After the Ipswich game, I decided these late night calls must be some kind of jinx, so the following Tuesday forced myself to go to bed without knowing the score of the fixture at Reading. My early morning teletext fumblings showed the total lack of effectiveness of this decision. Then there were the games I really expected us to win (and yes, I’m fully aware that as a Blue for 23 years, I ought to know better by now), such as Bury and Oxford at home. In view of my misplaced optimism, the eventual defeats were crushing. By this point, despite managerial and boardroom changes, we were staring relegation in the face, so news of each fresh disaster, and especially the defeats by Port Vale, Bradford and Birmingham, has been a cruel blow.

City fans sometimes get criticised for being arrogant if they say it shouldn’t be like this. This isn’t a valid comment – it really shouldn’t be like this. I recognise that no-one has a divine right to a certain status, and I know that we’re in our present position because that’s what the quality of our play deserves. However, the point is that our average crowd outstrips most of those clubs in the relegation fight by almost 20,000 – more in one or two cases. This equates to a disparity in revenue of around £6 million per season from gate receipts alone. Our net transfer expenditure since the end of 1996-97 has been the highest in our division, and some of our rivals are prospering with entire squads costing a fraction of one of our signings. Credit is due to others for making the best of their resources, but it can’t be denied that for us to be in the position we’re in, there must have been wide-scale under-performance from the playing staff or incompetence from the managerial and coaching staff or a combination of the two. We are entitled to be upset about this and to voice our feelings accordingly. We’d also have every right to give up on the club altogether.

The attendance figures show that City fans as a whole are not following this course. I have come to the conclusion that we are like the spouses who stick with nightmare partners no matter what (I know more about this than I would like to, but will save a dissection in case I ever pen an article for Cosmopolitan or appear on the Jerry Springer Show). Despite all the mental torture, all the glaring failings and inadequacies in the relationship which mean we know all too well that we should pack the whole thing in, a compelling force always draws us back.

I remember a friend telling me once how about 5,000 City fans locked in the away end at Forest (after, I think, the game featuring Gary Crosby’s controversial goal) started signing along to the Madness song It Must Be Love when it was played over the tannoy. I always thought it was a shame this never caught on as a regular chant, as it more or less sums the whole thing up. It’s not your idyllic, Mills & Boon kind of love of course, but the fact remains that there’s something about the club which encourages a deep and irrational loyalty and makes us unable to turn our backs even though it’s what the club would deserve (if football fans could sue for divorce, we’d be able to bring a library full of evidence in support of our claims of unreasonable behaviour).

This year, City have surpassed themselves, though. In the space of 72 hours, the unthinkable could be a reality. Surely a win at Stoke isn’t too much to ask for? On the other hand, I can’t bring myself to believe too fervently that it will happen. I’ve been let down too many times in the past to have confidence that things will come good this time. The thought of a season (or, heaven forbid, longer) out of English football’s top two divisions is profoundly depressing. I suppose if it happens, I should be grateful for one fortunate circumstance – I live in a country whose national drink is designed not to be pleasant to imbibe but to induce alcoholic oblivion with brutal efficiency.

There are times (and they’ve been frequent this season) when I hate the club, when I despair completely and when I feel on the verge of swearing to myself that I will forsake Manchester City forever. However, I know that if I were capable of doing this, I would have done so long ago – there’s no way I’d have remained so obsessed having moved abroad. They’re often a blight on my life, but I’ve accepted everything they’ve thrown at me for more than two decades and I guess I’m in this for the long haul. And that’s the point – even if the worst comes to the worst at Stoke on Sunday, I know that next August, I’ll be sitting up watching dodgy Russian pop videos until it’s time to call home for the result of that vital midweek trek to Gillingham.

Reconciled to being City ’til I die but not always enthusiastic about the prospect.

Peter Brophy (


This was sent to me by a Ayr Utd fan detailing the progress of David Morley. I hope you find it interesting:

Morley, I’m afraid, has struggled a bit at Ayr. This is not entirely his fault, as he was pitched in into a struggling team in the midst of an injury crisis, but he does look a bit out of his depth.

Since he’s arrived, the manager has signed a few more experienced defenders, with the consequence that he hasn’t played for the last three games, and frankly is unlikely to be seen in an Ayr shirt again this season.

Sorry to sound so negative, but them’s the breaks, as they say. I’m sure he’d do better in a team that’s under less pressure.

Tony Peachment (


I noticed a few people are struggling with directions to Wycombe (junction 4 M40).

We played there a couple of seasons ago in the second round of the Coca-Cola cup and were lucky to get away with a 0-0 draw – we straightened things out 4-0. They had a good goal disallowed and one of their players got booked for a dive in the penalty area when he had his legs taken away.

Hopefully, we won’t need the maps.

Paul de Sousa (


Nice of City to leave it until the last day again. It’s always good to be involved right up to the last kick of the season, isn’t it? I mean, what would I be doing if I wasn’t glued to my short-wave radio on yet another closing-day nailbiter (this computer is at work so I can’t use it at weekends)?

It does seem that we’ve been involved in an abnormally high number of last day of the season run-ins over the last fifteen years (since Luton and the brown suit dance). Oh how the media loves a Manchester City story. They like nothing more than going on about long-suffering this and eccentric that. Do other teams’ fans envy us for our zany escapades? Is being a City fan really better than following Coventry or whoever, magnetised to the middle of the table?

I know that our position is no fun and the only remote satisfaction I get out of it is from shocking my Brazilian friends that I’m still a Blue in spite of the fact that the team’s crap (and has been for virtually the whole time I’ve been supporting them). People here think I’m completely mad for wearing my colours the day after another defeat. Here in Brazil a club’s popularity depends a lot more on results than it does in England.

I’ve got absolutely nothing against City suddenly becoming incredibly successful. But that’s a long way off. Meanwhile, I’ll be happy to settle for “that little bit of luck” on yet another last-day d-day.

P.S. On an unrelated matter. I saw a kid this afternoon wearing last season’s Barcelona away shirt. It’s a foul shade of turquoise. Of course, I thought, Kappa didn’t sell half as many of these items as they expected, so they were left with a giant surplus of turquoise nylon. One of their marketing blokes then came up with the ingenious idea of palming it off on City and calling it laser blue.

Yours, wallowing miserably in true-blue eccentriCITY, Daniel Marcus (


Can anyone tell me how Blues based in London can listen to the Stoke match ‘live’ through the Internet or other means?

Does any of the Manchester stations (GMR?) put its signals out over the Internet? Otherwise I will have to call clubcall which I have worked out at 90mins x 48p/min = £43.20 and I could buy the whole City team for that.

Martin Reynolds (

I’m assured it’s on SKY3 (see next posting)



Sky are to show the Stoke vs. City game live on their Sky Sports 3 channel. This is a worrying development when you consider City’s record on Sky. I think we’ve been on Sky 4 times so far this season and we haven’t been victorious in any of those fixtures.

Charles Pollitt (


Don’t worry all you fellow fans, City will stuff Stoke on Sunday, and Portsmouth or Port Vale will lose or draw it’s as simple as that, my crystal ball told me so…

If this does not happen you can all lynch me but you will need to travel all the way to Cape Town to find me!

Margetson should be fired for not organising his defence before handing the ball to the QPR player, even my goalie in our amateur team would not have done that!

In my opinion this was the most criminal thing that happened last Saturday!

All the best for next season (in Div 1), Claude Nuttall – Cape Town (


Am I the only one who longs for the glory days under Frank Clark? The days when ‘The World’s Greatest Player’ Gio Kinkladze would be given licence to roam the pitch and beat players for fun. The days when under F. Clark, City looked like winning, were unlucky in defeat, played with a purpose and were entertaining to watch. The 6-0 thrashing of Swindon and the first half versus Middlesbrough were two of the best City performances I’ve ever seen. No, this isn’t my first season. 28 years I’ve been following the misfortunes of City – approximately 350 matches.

What a poor managerial appointment Joe Royle has been. At this late stage, he’s totally changed the style of play that City have been using all season, and that which the players are used to. There should not be any place for Royle’s long ball tactics in today’s game. Further, the players he has brought in have been quite simply – awful. Anyone seeing Goater’s three misses at Bradford, or his inability to control he ball at Middlesbrough or his disappearance from the match at Wolves must surely agree he’s out of his depth in Division 1. Ian Bishop is blatantly 2 years past his sell by date. Yet another player to compete for a place in the reserves. I knew Nigel Clough was a disappointment but not even he has played as poorly as Bishop has. Finally, Jamie Pollock the overweight cheerleader whose brilliant own goal could possibly send us down.

Royle’s treatment of existing City players has been a shambles. Is it any coincidence that Margetson has conceded two awful goals since Royle told him he could leave at the end of the season?

Surely, all Royle needed to do was subtly change the City tactics. Remove the 3 centre halves and wing backs, in favour of a flat back four, and move Gio into a more forward position, similar to that of Marc Overmars at Arsenal, giving more width to the attack. Under Frank Clark, with Gio playing the playmaker, it was easy to stop City by putting a man marker on him, with another close by. Stop the play maker, and you stop the team. Simple. By moving Gio further forward, if the opposition decides to man mark him, then firstly, it won’t stop the general flow of the ball through midfield, and secondly, it takes an opposition player out of midfield and into defence, giving City a numerical advantage in midfield. If Gio isn’t man marked, then great – he’s free to destroy the opposition. Surely, one of City’s many managers could have tried this simple tactic. Alas, it now appears to be too late.

Further, Royle’s handling of Gio has been an absolute disgrace. Here is the best player City have ever had, and prior to QPR, Royle wouldn’t even play him. How we could have done with him at Wolves when they were down to 10 men. Gio would have finished them off single handedly. Contrary to Royle’s post-match analysis, the Birmingham match was the worst City performance I have ever seen. It cried out for Gio’s inventiveness. Still Royle wouldn’t play him. Against Middlesbrough, we didn’t create 1 chance against their 10 men. Pathetic. Finally, Royle gave in to outside pressure and played him against QPR. Now, anybody who was at the QPR match last season would know that Danny Maddix marked Gio out of the game, and he had his most ineffective match for City that I’ve seen. Apart from Gio’s opening goal, this season’s match was going the same way. Then, with 15 minutes left Neil Ruddock goes off injured. QPR have no other option but to switch Maddix to centre half, leaving Gio unmarked. Yes, I thought, now finally Gio is free to win the game. To my absolute astonishment Royle immediately took Gio off. Yes, I know the pre-match plan was for Gio to only play 60 minutes or so. However, he certainly didn’t look tired. and surely pre-match plans are not set in stone? This has to go down as the most baffling substitution ever.

For this season, I bought season tickets for my wife and I after Gio signed his new contract last May. The excitement and anticipation of seeing City with Gio in the team certainly makes it worthwhile travelling from Brighton on the South coast to each match. I was all set to renew my ticket for next season until I witnessed City’s abysmal Gioless performances under Royle. I can’t face a 530-mile round trip each week to see players kick the ball 50 yards to Goater and hope it bounces the right way off his shins, regardless of which division we’ve ended up in next season.

So, it’s on to the Stoke match. Will we stay up?

All the odds suggest that it is highly unlikely that both Port Vale and Portsmouth will win their away matches. Port Vale have only won 22% of their away games, while Portsmouth only 18%. In addition, Bradford have not lost in 86% of their home matches. Basically, it’s in City’s hands. One thing for sure. City have got to score first. Not one match has been won this season once the opposition has gone in front. If we do score, we’ll have to score a second. Can you imagine the last 5 minutes plus injury time with City hanging onto a 1-0 lead? Even against 8 men City will surely lose it. 12 times this season, we’ve failed to win after taking the lead.

I’m confident though, If Gio plays the full match, we’ll win.

Should the unthinkable happen however, please don’t ruin the one good thing to come out of this season – the reputation of us fans. Even, like myself, if you have tickets amongst the Stoke fans, let’s not ruin the great name of Man City. Win or lose let’s show that we’re the No. 1 supporters in the country.

Finally, does anybody know the way to Ajax?

Colin Jonas (


What can I say, I cannot believe that our once great team are looking at Division 2 next season. I’ve been a City fan since I was six, twenty-four years of every emotion imaginable, and I’ve never seen anything as dire as this from our boys. My brother and I were playing football together as usual in my gran’s garden in Cornwall and we argued over who was going to be who while we played. He is four years older than me and was already a Liverpool fan. I want to be Liverpool too I said, but he explained that I had to be a different team! Man City, he said, you can be them, they’re really good! Why didn’t he say Arsenal!? Ever since that fateful day I have faithfully and lovingly supported City, meeting my old heroes like Colin Bell, Joe Corrigan, Dave Watson, Dennis Tueart,.. the list goes on and on doesn’t it!

Who have we got today? Gio, and he’s going to leave a sinking ship and who can blame him? Unlike you others, I have not been a regular visitor to watch City play and I envy you all (okay so the QPR result was s***e but would you have missed being there?). I was fortunate enough to see the game at Swindon earlier (now I’m a Wiltshire resident) and one of our rare victories. That said we were the slightly better of two crap teams! Gio was non existent but he still has to play as he is the only player capable of any true class, if only for a matter of minutes! Enough rambling! Stay loyal and sing loud on Sunday, I’m going to hide in the shed for the day and may never come out!

CTIDITOSP (City till I drown in tears of self pity), Adam Davey (


Does anyone have any spare tickets for the Stoke game on Sunday? If so I would be willing to buy them off you!

Sorry for the cheek but I’m pretty keen to get to the game.

Charles Harford-Cross (


I have two spare Stoke City tickets in the City end for Sunday’s match.

If anybody wants them at face value give me a call at work on 01254 301333 or 0976 702298.

I am working in Manchester all day tomorrow (Friday).

Gareth Wilson (


Sorry for the delay in posting the answers, especially to the half of Singapore that were going mad!

The three players that have played in a Manchester, a Glasgow and a London derby are…

Ray Wilkins, Lou Macari and Andy Dibble.

In the 1986 world cup, name the three Man Scum players that captained the England team in the same match?

Robson (shoulder injury), Wilkins (sent off), Anderson.

Who is the only surviving member of the Munich air disaster still playing in the Premiership to this day?

John Lukic! (his mother was an air stewardess, who was pregnant with him at the time!)

There are only two players that have played for Wimbledon that have played for England. Who are they?

Dave Beasant, Robbie Earle (U-21 cap) sorry that last one was stretching it a bit!

CTWGITVC (City Till We Go Into The Vauxhall Conference!), Gareth Foster (


It’s in the family, like religion, or haemophilia. My father was born on Kippax Street and could tell tall tales of the great City players and performances of the forties and fifties, Roy Clark, The Revie Plan and, most of all, the two famous goalies Frank Swift and Bert Trautmann. He first started taking me to the Platt Lane End in about 1967, just at the beginning of the glorious golden age of heroes and trophies. Even if I can’t honestly claim to have been passed over the heads of the crowd to sit on the pitch, I can still remember the excitement and the taste of the Everton mints from a sticky brown paper bag bought at the newsy’s on Lloyd Street before the game, as if it were yesterday.

I grew up and graduated into the Kippax, and I’ve still got my old bar scarf which would be tied around my wrist for home games, and around my waist under a denim jacket for away fixtures. I was a season ticket holder in the seventies, enjoyed and endured the Wembley finals of 76 and 81, and of course it’s been downhill ever since then, though living abroad since 1983 I’ve been thankfully spared the painful duty of regular attendance in recent years. I still make it to Maine Road whenever I’m in Manchester visiting family and friends during the season, and I’ve seen many a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, and endured hopeless, goalless, pointless hours of futile football, but still just can’t give it up. It could all happen again: great goals, cups, championships, Europe, and I wouldn’t want to miss feeling part of it for the world. The lean years, and all those jokes that make you want to laugh and cry, are all worth putting up with, as the joy will be so much the greater when it all comes around again (some time in the next millennium).

Thankfully, I’ve found that football followers all over the world understand that to support Manchester City, you really must be a serious football fan, unless of course you’re just a few Esso world cup coins short of a free wallchart. I lived for many years in Finland, not bad for ice-hockey, but something of a footballing wilderness – the national team recently managed to contrive an incredible own goal to avoid victory against Hungary, and a place in the runners-up play-offs for the world cup qualifiers, with Finnish players making the last five contacts with the ball before it entered their own net.

I am now, however, a resident of a much prouder footballing city, Sao Paulo in Brazil, where I support the local Corinthians as well as keep in virtual touch with those distant, dismal Blues. I am however becoming increasingly dubious about the benefits of my recently-required Internet connection: Now I can so rapidly be put out of the agony of not knowing City’s results into the subtly different agony of knowing them, my Saturday evenings have been ruined.

P.S. Might anyone be interested in something on football in Brazil/Sao Paulo?

Fran Weaver (


Full-time score for Wednesday, April 29 1998

Middlesbrough            1 - 1 Wolverhampton
Ricard (12)                    Wanderers
                               Atkins (10)

Full-time scores for Tuesday, April 28 1998

Ipswich Town             2 - 0 Sunderland
Holland (48)
Mathie (61)
Tranmere Rovers          3 - 3 Sheffield United
O'Brien (10)                   Quinn (52)
Jones (64)                     Saunders (78)
Parkinson (66)                 Devlin (90)

Up to and including Wednesday, April 29 1998

                               HOME            AWAY
                        P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
  Nottm Forest         45 18  2  3 52 20  10  7  5 29 21    93   81
  Middlesbrough        45 16  4  2 47 11  10  6  7 26 29    88   73
  Sunderland           45 14  7  2 49 22  11  5  6 35 27    87   84
  Charlton             45 17  5  1 48 17   9  4  9 32 32    87   80
  Ipswich              45 13  5  4 44 18   9  9  5 30 23    80   74
  Sheff Utd            44 16  5  2 44 20   3 12  6 24 31    74   68
  Birmingham           45 10  7  5 27 15   9  9  5 33 20    73   60
  Wolverhampton        45 13  6  4 42 25   5  5 12 14 26    65   56
  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
  Tranmere             45  8  8  6 32 25   5  6 12 20 31    53   52
  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
  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              45  8  4 10 27 30   3  5 15 12 47    42   39

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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 #394