Newsletter #420

This issue contains views of the PNE and Cardiff games, as well as a belated match report for the Scarborough fixture. We haven’t got any full reports for the PNE or Tranmere games, so if anyone went and can spare the time to write them, please send them in. For your information, the mighty Blues swept aside PNE with goals from Goater, Edghill and Tskhadadze and then, realising the fans were having difficulty acclimatising to such a decisive lead, decided to return to more familiar territory by conceding a couple: final score 3-2. This gained us entry to the glittering final where we met those giants of Merseyside football – Tranmere, who had soundly thrashed the Tykes 3-0. I don’t know much about the performance, other than Tranmere’s new French signing made his mark: he scored an own goal, which was followed by one for Tranmere and one for Goater (not sure of the order) and then got himself red-carded. Two-one up against 10 men – you guessed it, City let them equalise and then lost the penalty shoot-out 4-2!

Bernstein has released a missive for the faithful; apparently he’s been unsuccessful in attracting new investment as – wait for it… people don’t seem all that interested in clubs which play outside something called the Premiership! Reassuringly, he did say that he still has irons in the fire, and he most definitely won’t make a deal which is not good for the club – let’s hope so. GMR also reported that their is some kind of morale problem inside the club and that the Chairman has written to all staff with respect to this, presumably to fire them up.

This issue also has news of WorldNet 98, a review of the latest CITY Mag, opinion and a Why Blue (more needed).

Finally, there’s a rumour doing the rounds that the Macc away game is to be played at the Swamp rather than the Moss Rose; this just has to be a scurrilous invention, after all, there’s no earthly reason why they can’t play at the Moss Rose is there?

Next game, Blackpool at home, Saturday 8th August 1998


Call me pessimistic… call me a panic merchant… but in my humble opinion we look like a very ordinary 2nd Division team. Only when we were cruising at 3-0 against a very poor Preston side did we look to try to play football, pass short 10-yard balls, and to try to support each other on the ball. Dickov as usual, was full of running but where does it get him? We have no width to our play and when we do actually get to the byeline and get a cross in, our star centre forward Lee Bradbury shows all the predatory skills of a big cuddly teddy bear! Why doesn’t he try and anticipate situations, gamble? More often than not he’s not even in the box! We paid £3 million for this guy for what? He didn’t win 1 single header all game. I don’t actually think it’s entirely his fault, the lad is playing at a standard that is above him, it’s not his fault that he gets picked! The excuse that he is suffering from a lack of confidence is wearing a bit thin with me, I just don’t think he’s good enough. I would love to know how we decided to pay out such a vast amount of money for him, £300,000 would have been too much.

Somebody is sanctioning all of these bad buys. I live in the Southport area and would go to watch all Liverpool home reserve games as they were played at Southport’s Haig Avenue… Nigel Clough week in week out was crap and what do you know, in come City with a million. I honestly believe that we bought him without even watching him, because nobody in their right mind would have paid out money for him on the strength of his perfomances. How many times did we watch Bradbury?

We have too many poor players with no class, no vision and probably no ambition. The club is on its arse and I can’t at this stage see a way out. When we were relegated from the Premiership we settled for being a 1st Division outfit and cut our cloth accordingly. Teams with ambition like Middlesbrough and Forest who have also recently been relegated go out and make big money signings, players of pedigree e.g. Merson, Van Hooijdonk. They do this in order to make a quick return to the top flight. This is ambition. What do we do? Cut our wages and settle for it.

Now we have been relegated to Division 2, I don’t see any ambition from the club. What’s changing? I hear nothing. I’m afraid that Manchester City deserve to be where they are. The whole club is gearing itself to being a 2nd Division outfit.

At this time of year I am normally bursting at the seams with anticipation and hope for the forthcoming season; this year I fear for my sanity. I guess it’s worse for me. I am 42, I remember the good times, the trophies, the great players, it just hurts to see us now.

Through the good and the bad I will always be CTID.

Team rating: a very average 5

Ian McIntosh (


‘Twas a mild night at Maine Road as 2,586 spread themselves around the Kippax, several of which had managed to get the new shirt. The Cardiff support seemed to total about 10 people (no sheep suprisingly!). I didn’t know half the team which seemed to be made up of reserves and youth. I saw Dickov and Bradbury outside who said they were resting for the tournament in Preston.

Our new striker Allsop was playing and made himself quite useful. But even though City had most of the play, they never looked like they would score. Goater had a couple of chances but they went begging. Tiatto looks OK, Edghill still looks scared and never really showed any passion. I don’t know who the No. 7 was but he looked very useful and once he got into his stride he played well.

By 21.30 the farce was over and it was time to go home. One can only hope that it will be alright on the night. Roll on the 8th.

CTTGOH (City ’til the gates of hell) Andy Holgate (


SCARBOROUGH vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 28th July 1998

“City show their class” said Tuesday’s Scarborough Evening News. For those of you who weren’t able to make the journey to England’s premier seaside resort (I live there, ok?!), City emerged triumphant in what turned out to be an easy victory. Just to make the travelling supporters feel at home (a good turnout by the Blues given the time, distance and weather), it absolutely persisted it down for a good hour before the match. Oh yeah, and at half time there was a lovely rainbow over Oliver’s Mount. You don’t see many of those in Moss Side!

City lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Wright in goal, Crooks, Wiekens and Vaughan as a back 3; Edghill and Tiatto as wing backs (yes we’re persevering with those!), Pollock and Horlock in midfield, and Dickov, Bradbury and Goater up-front.

In a nutshell, City passed the ball well, and didn’t look too troubled by a poor Scarborough side. Bradbury and Goater worked well up front, each taking their goals well. In fact, Bradbury’s determination did impress me. Going 2-0 up, City of course let Scarborough back into it with some sloppy defending. Second half saw 2 further goals, the first a well taken effort from Horlock after good work by a substitute, Allsop I think? Goater added another right at the end, and in fact had 2 more, one of which was a yard over the line but conveniently ignored by the Scarborough referee (and the linesmen too!).

To reassure City fans everywhere, very little has changed since May. Wright can’t kick (though in fairness, he did launch one ball out of the ground), Vaughan struggles to pass, Edghill can’t cross and Pollock definitely can’t shoot (one effort went for a throw!). On a more positive note we will score goals. This is Goater’s level; Bradbury looked very sharp and despite the fact he’ll miss more than he’ll score, he should still be good for 20+ goals at this level.

So, a win is a win is a win, right? To be perfectly honest, I’m not filled with overwhelming optimism. I know it’s only a friendly, and there wasn’t 100% effort, but my main concern is that Joe Royle thinks that the same players who got us relegated are good enough to turn themselves into a promotion winning side. From what I could tell, there wasn’t a great deal that’s changed. We will do well against a lot of the teams in this division but I’m not convinced we’ve got what it takes to justify being favourites to go straight back up. At the end of last season, there was an article in the Sun by that dried-up has-been Jimmy Greaves, basically blaming the City supporters for the club’s plight, and the expectations that they have of the team. Personally speaking, I’ve never had great expectations, as I suspect is the case with many City fans. This season is different. I expect them to gain automatic promotion, and I want them to win the 2nd Division Championship. Failure is not acceptable. Let’s hope we’re not let down.

Neil Towse (


According to the local paper, the Tangerines may be playing us in stocking feet this weekend. Following the withdrawal of sportwear firm Lotto’s sponsorship, the notoriously stingy Oyston dynasty have refused to cough up any money for players’ boots.

The players have gone on a go slow (no change there then) by refusing to appear at local schools or do any promotional work. So it looks like Martin Ford’s boots may get a run out this season after all. Jokes about them not needing boots to beat the Blues are not welcome!

Ken (wasn’t football better when it was unpopular?) Foster
E-mail me for MCIVTA t-shirts!

Ken Foster (


July 1998, Volume 3, Issue 11 £2

Issue 11

Quiet month, quiet issue. Time, therefore, to reflect on the roll-call of contemporaneous playing staff, featuring no less than 77 (that’s seventy-seven) players. Including the dearly departed and the dearly retained; it was a surprise to see Kavelashvili still on the books and Ian Wright’s lad has chosen a club 200 miles from dad. Nige is still there, of course (and will be next summer).

Ian Penney, he of Blue Heaven and The Maine Road Encyclopedia, interviews old timer Eric Westwood, one of the 46-47 Second Division champions and possessor of the most fearsome nose in the club’s history.

City’s latest international and Young Player of the Year, the young gifted and green Jim Whitley, is rewarded with cover star status. At 23, young James is two years older than Player of the Year Michael Brown. He thinks it’s daft as well.

John Maddocks kindly reminds us of the opposition to come (are we really playing Colchester and Gillingham? Pinch me please), and there’s a 15-year-old’s account of a tour round Maine Road (incidentally, I was about that age when I made my only visit to the bowels of The Theatre of Comedy. The lasting memory is of the mammoth Herefordshire FA Cup, which seemed to stretch half way up the wall and was a near-permanent fixture in the trophy room around that time. Hardly surprising really, as the opposition was only Hereford United).

An interesting review of City’s enormous away following, based on the number of tickets sold by the ticket office, presages the forthcoming ticket drought. There really were some scarcely credible migrations: 5,324 for the shameful performance – both on and off the pitch – at Vale Park in February; 26,664 saw the denouement at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke – average crowd 14,000 – gave City only 4,773 tickets and then had the audacity to express dismay at the subsequent trouble.

And ticketing hassles seemed to feature heavily at the Centenary Supporters’ Association AGM, which is reviewed here.

Finally, the Editor is made to sweat by an alarmingly-painted lady as he previews the £2.2 million Dome Fitness Suite at the Platt Lane complex. The suite is due for an official opening in August and Tony Blair has been invited to cut the tape. It offers technologically advanced training facilities which are approved by the Football Association and used by top athletes. Gerry Creaney has left the club.

David Butler (


WorldNET 98 is the show-piece Mailing List soccer tournament of 1998, held in Reading on the weekend of 18th/19th July. McVittee FC, representatives of this mailing list, took part along with 35 other teams around the country.

Find out what happens when 17 Man City fans invade Reading for a football weekend at our team web-site:

If you like what you see, you can get involved and join the team’s training sessions in Manchester, or play in matches if you wish.

It’s all about meeting fans from other football teams, playing football and showing the world that football fans from different teams can get on together (well, apart from those Man U boys…).

Dave Barker – Manager McVittee FC (


I don’t often feel the urge to write to the excellent MCIVTA, I’m just usually happy to read the news and views. However, the letter from the ex-fan Simon in issue MCIVTA 419 made me see red! Yes, red!

FACT – Simon, it’s time for you to buy a new replica shirt – Arsenal this season, or Chelsea maybe, or go on mate, go the whole hog and support an almost successful red-shirted local team. You sound like a Red to me – moan moan moan. And if “your team” this season doesn’t do well, then change them next season!

FACT – I certainly think that many of us CTID Blues, and there are an awful lot of us, live in the past a bit, but honestly Simoan, where have you been the last few months? How can you blame Mr Bernstein for our recent boardroom shambles (personally I have been more than reasonably impressed by him and others on the board of late)?

FACT – And how do you, Mystic Simoan, know that things will get worse? If you really have a hotline to the future, perhaps you can e-mail me next week’s lottery numbers! OK, it’s not going to be a bundle of laughs in the 2nd, but at least give Joe and the players until Xmas before writing them off.

FACT – your season ticket will by now be in the hands of a more deserving person, hopefully a youngster who will get great pleasure from seeing the team do well in the Second, First, Premier.

FACT – being a Blue for 23 years should have made a man of you not a moaning minnie! What went wrong?

FACT – bye bye Simoan, no loss…

Anyway, I am looking forward to Saturday’s tournament at Preston – the Blues against Preston followed by the giants of Barnsley playing Tranmere – and all this for only 10 pounds!

I never had a chance to be anything else – call it brainwashing by my family when I was little – for me it will always be City Till I Die! And what’s more, I’m proud to be Blue and I live in hope that most of the team start to feel the same way, because when that happens we will be back. Oh, and Simoan… don’t bother supporting the Blues again when we do start winning again, you have shown your true colours – they are not blue.

Jeff Berens (


It’s sad that Simon feels the way he does about City; to have made the remarks at the end of last season would have been better.

We are just about to start a new season with a positive attitude to getting back first of all to Division 1. Please Simon don’t start the new season with a list of negatives, all City fans have suffered just like you but you won’t hear me start this season with bad stuff. Let’s cheer up and get behind City. When things get tough the tough get going!

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow – CTID (


It’s all very well for ‘‘ a.k.a. Mystic Meg to tell us what the facts are, but he is clearly a Rag imposter.

‘Fact’ 1 – City are in the 2nd Division. OK – can’t fault that one.
‘Fact’ 2 – A normal PLC would have been liquidated. Rubbish. As long as we keep supporting City in numbers the club will attract investment and stay out of serious trouble.
‘Fact’ 3 – Worst run club in the country. Ho ho ho this one must be a comic interjection. Blackpool have told their players to buy their own boots. Brighton are on a ground tour and are very likely to disappear from the league.
‘Fact’ 4 – Nothing will get better next season. Probably not.
‘Fact’ 5 – There is worse to come. Probably not.
‘Fact’ 6 – Still in Division 2 with an average gate of 13,000. Not if there are more people who feel the same way about the club as I do.
‘Fact’ 7 – The club has gone. I bet you were wiping your sweaty palms on your United top in glee when you typed that in. It’s still there. It might take ten years or even twenty, but City will be back at the top of English football, if the fans stay loyal – and I have a strange feeling they will.

CTID, Adam Jones (


I cannot claim to be a lifelong City fan. I have only been a fan for about a year. But here is the reason I’m Blue.

My boyfriend lives in Manchester (but being from Berkshire is a Reading fan through and through, poor lad). I have lived in Scotland all my life and wasn’t really a follower of any particular team south of the border. When I first visited Manchester last summer and walked around the city centre, I was struck by the number of Man Utd ‘fans’ clouding my vista. There was another big club in Manchester – this I knew; so where were the fans? Being a little twisted (why join the majority?) I decided there and then to become a supporter of Manchester City. I soaked up all the information I could on the team – the history, the current players, the feeling of the supporters (via MCIVTA).

When the season started I followed the results, got the City Mag sent up, and went to my first game (against Bradford City) in November at Maine Road. I was so excited – almost 30,000 inside the stadium and some Bradford fans sitting precariously on the newly-constructed corner stand. I’d heard the atmostphere at Maine Road left something to be desired, but I was still shocked at how quiet it was – I opened my bag of crisps and six people turned round. Our game was terrible – we had more than twenty chances of scoring that went begging; it was the most frustrating game of football I had ever witnessed. When we scored on 93 minutes we all went absolutely wild – the fans, the players and no doubt the management – as if we’d won a cup final. I felt like I belonged there, with the big, tortured family of fans who hadn’t seen a piece of silverware in twenty years. Since then, the fortunes of Man City have obviously taken a turn for the worse and I’ll admit to shedding a tear listening to the radio commentary of the Stoke game on the last day of the season. Languishing in Division Two is hopefully City’s worst point in history. I want to be there when they become great again (I can wait).

I don’t know any other City fans but it makes my day when a total stranger comes up and shakes my hand because I’m wearing a City top!

Aileen Barclay (


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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #420