Newsletter #445

Well here we are again.

Something today made me think… took the kids to the pictures to see “The Truman Show”, and I began to wonder… what if the whole of the last 30 years has all been a complete set-up? And then it all suddenly started to make sense – all the wierd and wonderful things that have happened to City couldn’t possibly have happened for real, it must have been all made up. It would explain why all those people keep looking at me whenever I’m sitting in Maine Road, it would explain all sorts of things, like Barry Silkman, Steve Coppell, and countless others.

So come on, now the secret’s out, please just let me wake up and find out what’s been happening in real life since 1968 … !

Anyway, while we’re all waiting for “The Bluman Show” to finish, here’s all the latest from the MCIVTA world. There’s a mixture of news, opinion on several topics, some requests for information, etc. Teletext tells me that we’ve taken Andy Morrison from Huddersfield on loan. Anyone know any Huddersfield fans who could do us a write up on him? Lee Bradbury has finally signed, so now we know who we’ll get drawn against in the FA Cup – anyone prepared to bet against him scoring against us? Also interesting to note the first thing Ged Brannan does as soon as he gets to Motherwell – stars in a win over Rangers and creates the only goal. At least we can’t be drawn against them in the Cup!

I owe apologies to Richard Neal, as the details of his preferred team in the MCIVTA 444 were screwed up making it unreadable (sorry Richard, and thanks to those of you who wrote to point out my error!).

Finally, Paul Howarth and Jeremy Poynton have told me we now have 2,237 subscribers.

Steve, CTAGB (Covering Till Ashley Gets Back)
Next game, Colchester at home, Saturday 31st October 1998


I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve found ourselves in a new all time low league position, so it should really come as no surprise when we sink to a new depth as we did on Saturday. Maybe we did suffer from being a man down, but even if you take that into consideration City still found yet another new level of ineptitude to rise to.

There are two real problems: the players and the “fans”.

We all know perfectly well the dire financial situation and what caused it. City got into the Second Division entirely on merit, last season we witnessed a lot of poor performances from poor players. After getting rid of nearly thirty players, we still have a big squad, but it’s obvious there’s not enough quality there. My first comment on this is that I believe that, although there’s plenty of room for improvement, then as long as they aren’t sidelined by injury and suspension the players that started the season for us are better than most of this division. However, now the injuries and suspensions have started to pile up and the holes in the squad are there for all to see. There’s no replacement for Edghill at right wing back – already he’s one of the weak links, although I think he’d do a good job as a full back, but neither of the Whitleys is an adequate replacement.

With Tiatto sent off (and soon to be suspended), the only replacement (Horlock) is carrying an injury and in any case is much more useful in midfield. There’s nobody to stamp their authority on the midfield in Pollock’s abscence, while the remaining midfielders look pretty lightweight. And, of course, there’s no width and no pace. I really wouldn’t like to be in Joe Royle’s shoes, and I can’t stress strongly enough that I think it’s not Royle’s fault! He’s inherited an awful squad from his predecessors, bought a few bargains in Jobson (unfortunately injured), Tiatto, Allsopp and Goater, and he’s got no money to spend. All he can do is hunt around for bargain buys – and that means taking risks on players that may turn out to be useless – or get players on loan. In my opinion we need to get some experience into the side, there must be a few players sitting in the reserves of Premier League clubs that would come, but realistically we can only expect to bring in two or three new players.

Two or three might make the difference, but surely we need more like six – two full backs (as cover for Edghill and Tiatto), two wingers, a midfielder and maybe a striker. Then we can think about playing 4-4-2 and ditching this awful wing back system. Until this can happen I’m afraid we’re going to have to lower our expectations and accept that City really is a Second Division team.

When Clark and Lee left in February, there was talk of a “cancer within the club”. Well some of you may have different opinions, but I think the cancer isn’t in the boardroom, manager’s office or dressing room, it’s spread across the Kippax and North Stand. Probably the Main Stand and Platt Lane as well, but as I never sit there I can’t vouch for them. I sat in the North Stand on Saturday, hoping for an improvement on the lifeless Kippax, but I was disappointed. Frankly, sitting in the Kippax these depresses me – and it’s not the performance of the team, it’s the people around me. On the first day of the season we created a fantastic atmosphere and won. Since then I’ve sat in Kippax lower, blocks AA and BB a few times and the atmosphere has been dreadful. And we haven’t won. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Some of the players we have now were bought from clubs where they never had to play in front of a large crowd, and it seems to me that many of them don’t like the pressure that comes with it. The best thing we can do as supporters is support them, make some noise and encourage them. What do they get instead? I’ve sat in BB lower a couple of times this season and been surrounded by people with no interest at all in getting behind the team. They sit there in complete silence, only opening their mouths to criticise or boo players whose confidence obviously suffers as a result.

It’s no wonder we aren’t winning home games when the players know that if they aren’t 3-0 up after twenty minutes half the “supporters” will get on their backs. We all know that these are the best players we’ve got at the moment, there’s little or even no money to bring in more and until that changes these are the players we have to support, so why destroy their confidence? It’s ok to criticise after the game, and if you’ve got to boo do it at the end, but please, can’t we get behind the team? Things are a little better in AA lower and in the North Stand, presumably spurred on by the proximity of the away support, but there are still plenty of sad b@st@rds there too – I mean what sort of sad f**k shouts out during a minute’s silence? And what purpose does singing “one Lee Bradbury” actually serve, except to further damage the confidence of the players we’ve got?

Don’t these people realise that Bradbury wasn’t all that good? 11 goals in over a season pretty much says it all, and with the current finacnial situation £1.5 million is a pretty good deal. Did anyone seriously expect to get £3.5 million for him? Anyway, my message to the boo boys is this: Sod off. Now. You’re damaging the confidence of the players and sooner or later you’ll destroy the fantastic reputation that we, as City fans, frankly don’t deserve any more. Turning up in large numbers is pointless if you are not prepared to support your team.

CTID, Julian Griffiths (


Our next branch meeting will be held on Tuesday 3rd November, 8pm start at the Lancaster Club, Failsworth. Our guests on the night, subject to the usual availability, will be Kevin Horlock and Gary Mason.

Non members £2, members £1 – price includes raffle ticket. For more info on the branch and/or this meeting go to:

Blinx (


Just received a fax inviting me to take a table at this event where none other than the ginger headed one with the squeaky voice will be speaking.

This is something simply not to be missed so I will have to use my persuasive skills on my boss to get the organisation to cough up (mind you my boss is a Blue so it won’t be too difficult!).

I will listen out for any slagging off and will provide a “match report” shortly after what no doubt what will be an illuminating talk, is over.

Meanwhile, the thought occurs to me that there might be time for questions. Now, this could get really interesting so if any one wants to e-mail me with some really tough questions like I will do my best to spread them around the audience and make him feel more than uncomfortable!

CTWATFCSTPIAMMPS (City till we are the first conference side to playin a multi-million pound stadium), Alan (


Don’t know if it’s true or not but I heard somewhere that the reason IIII is used rather than IV is because King Louis (?) of France was given a clock with the IV on it. The Roi proceeded to say that it was incorrect and that everybody knew it should be IIII. Since the king was always right, from that day on all IVs became IIII. Can anybody confirm this?

No, I am not Swiss.

Steve Barlow (


I’m sorry to be negative but I (along with many others) cannot understand what is going on at Maine Road. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it gets worse!

Sale of Bradbury – Why?

About the only positive thing that I have read in McVitee in recent weeks is about how Bradbury appears to have turned the corner and that once Joe Royle wakes up and buys a couple of creative midfielders to support the forwards, Lee will more than likely start to bang in the goals. So what do we do, sell him off for a loss of £1.5 million – I bet that will come out again in next year’s accounts. What sort of message does this send to the fans? Boll__ks is about my only comment on this.


Once again City are in danger of turning a bunch of half decent youngsters into nobodies. Everybody knows that throwing kids into a struggling team is not the right environment to develop them into long term decent players. Michael Brown and Richard Edghill are good examples of this, they have not been allowed to develop into quality players as a result of staying with City when a move to a successful club (à la Man. Utd.) would have been to their advantage. How well do you think Beckham / Butt / Scholes and Co. would have developed if they had been on City’s books – the simple answer is – they wouldn’t!

I really feel for the current crop à la Mason / Fenton / Crooks etc.; given time and the correct grooming they are obviously talented enough to take City to a higher level and become quality players. With the current débâcle at Maine Road, the barracking from the crowd (poor form by the fans in this case!) will simply destroy their confidence and turn them into crap.


A couple of weeks ago one reader sent a piece into McVittee lambasting those fans who boo the players and get on the team’s back. I totally agree with his comments that this only does damage to the team and the players I’m sure would rather have 15,000 fans who although p****d off didn’t incessantly slag them off for every mistake than a crowd of 25,000 with 10,000 on their back. Although I live in Australia so will never be put to the test, I would not be going to Maine Road at present because I would find it hard not to slag off the team as a result of the frustration at their performance. I think I would be doing more good by staying away and maybe that’s what the fans who do have the chance to go should be asking themselves. Let’s face it, it’s not the individual players’ fault that they are not up to scratch, this is why we have a Manager to buy / blend the right players to make a successful team.

Joe Royle and Where to from here?

What would be the point in sacking Royle, who would we replace him with? Let’s face it we are stuck with Joe for the next couple of years regardless of how bad the team sinks. Let’s hope that despite his obvious shortcomings and lack of money, a miracle can happen and he can motivate the players to turn the situation around. I am sick to death of Joe’s comments though that he can see positive signs and that City would be doing better if he could put his best team out; what crap. Despite the lack of money for transfers etc. Joe has a lot more at his disposal than any other club in this division. Why aren’t City sitting near the top of the league with Stoke / Preston etc.? I for one have accepted that this is the City of today and that to expect to win games against any team (regardless of the division they play in) is no longer a logical thought. God knows how the fans will take it if we get knocked out of the FA Cup in the first round by a non league club (Hyde United or Stalybridge Celtic!).

Best wishes to all City fans, wherever you may reside – you fools!

P.S. G’day to the boys from St James Gate – See you at the Glory game on the weekend? Wear the laser blue and I’ll keep any eye out for you behind the main stand pre-match.

Graham Hine (


City vs. Reading

This was going to be a bad day from the start. You all know the feeling that things won’t get better. To start with it was raining and so the MCIVTA FC game against Reading was off. So off to the game in the pi**ing rain, I was half expecting it to be called off.

The ground staff had done a wonderful job with the pitch and the seemed to be no standing water. City kicked off towards the Platt Lane end. We went straight on the attack and won a corner. As it was a set piece we did our usual trick of bugger all. After that the game went downhill rapidly. We cant blame the weather or the pitch, we can only blame the gutless players who take their wage home and count it.

The game turned out to be the most spectacular débâcle I have witnessed. Joe Royle should not have paid the players for that performance.

After about 20 minutes Tiatto and Reading’s No. 7 got involved in a bit of Queensburys. The result: their player booked and Danny sent off. Come on ref., equal punishments for that should have been given out. Both players were involved and both should have walked. After that their No. 7 got some of the worst stick I have seen. City should have upped their game and taken Reading apart but what did they do? They tried to break the legs of the Reading player.

Only one good chance came in the first half; Wiekens from a corner. His vicious drive swerved and hit the post. The ref. blew for everything that Reading called for. There were several dubious offside decisions and dodgy free kicks. Half time: 0-0.

Second half much of the same. I’m too pi**ed off to comment on it. Apart from a sloppy goal coming from a corner which I didn’t see that well.

Weaver 9 – Kept us in the game with some brilliant saves.
Wiekens 9 – Never missed a thing.
The rest 2 – Bloody awful.

Horlock, our stand-in captain was a disgrace. 1-0 down and his head is down and he is staring at his feet. If the captain feels that way what does that do to the rest of the team?

Craig Russell came on for the last 10 minutes and should have been on from the start. He was the only forward who seemed to know where the goal was. Goater is crap. He can’t turn or jump and how the hell he has scored 10 goals defies logic.

And finally a comment on the ref. and linesmen. The ref. is the worst I have seen in a long time and a pearl of wisdom came from the bloke sat next to me: “Bring back George Courtney”. Things must be bad if he feels that way. Do the linesmen know what the offside rule is? If so bloody use it.

I have never felt such disgrace to be a Blue, so what have I done this morning, got my ticket for Saturday. I must be mad.

CTIEUIAS (City ’til I end up in a sanitarium), Andy Holgate (


Before reading the Football 365 report on City, I was thinking which managers since the 60’s had the best buys for the club, i.e. Joe Mercer – Colin Bell £45,000 from Bury. And who had the worst, i.e. Frank Clark – Lee Bradbury £3,000,000 from Portsmouth.

Any City fan out there care to make a list? Unlike the City fans who attend the games in all kinds of weather, I nearly said the “pleasure” of seeing City (the last few games have been tough to watch by all accounts). I have only seen some games at the start of the season (when I visited England). I depend on all the reports on the Internet, and a big thank you to all City fans who report the games.

I wrote some 6 weeks ago that I felt this team would get us out of this division, but a “red light” should go up because of our inabilty in front of goal to score.

I still feel the same today, not making too much for excuses, injuries, stupid mistakes by young players and others being sent off has a lot to do with recent results. I still feel with Joe Royle and Willie Donachie we will achieve promotion (but again we must win the home games).

Keep the faith City fans, CTID, Ernie Barrow (


I heard after the recent dip in form that Joe Royle has been doing some intensive training, using cones.

The cones won 4-0.

Have to stop being so cynical, one day we’ll return to glory… ?

Neil Hastings (

NEWS FROM FOOTBALL 365 (October 28th)

Injuries to key defenders have forced manager Joe Royle to move for an on loan defender for the match against Colchester United.

An on loan defender will train with the Blues tomorrow in preparation for the home game against Colchester. It’s understood the player is currently with a Division 1 club but has extensive experience in the Premiership. Manager Joe Royle has acted swiftly because of doubts over Gerard Wiekens and Murtaz Shelia. The Dutchman has a foot injury which has kept him out of training, while Murtaz Shelia, who has struggled with match fitness, has a toe injury and had to withdraw from the reserves.

Gerard Wiekens is the only City player to have played in all the 19 League and Cup matches to date and there is no doubt his absence would be a severe blow to the team and to Joe. The 25 year old has been bitterly disappointed with his injury and the results from the last two games.

“The last four games we won one and lost three so it’s a terrible period at the moment. When you are winning everything is O.K but now we must try and lift ourselves and we need to beat Colchester. With a young squad there is a lot of pressure and we need to train well and translate that onto the pitch.”

“We’ve got talented players and many of them are better than Second Division players. But each game is difficult because the opposition is treating it like a Cup Final. My own form is pleasing but you can’t enjoy it unless you are winning.”

The arrival of an on loan defender tomorrow at Maine Road will help shore up the back on a temporary basis. Goals are still a priority and it could be that there is a double signing with an on loan striker coming in. If the arrangement is completed in time for the visit of Colchester then the Blues will have a former Premiership striker in the line up.


If the rumour is true that City are trying to buy goalkeeper Mattias Asper from AIK that’s very good news. I have seen Asper on several occasions this season and he is indeed a class goalkeeper. Although in AIK he has help from the best defence in the Swedish league he have made some brilliant saves, and is getting more and more secure and dominant in the box.

Realistically Asper will be chosen for some national games for Sweden soon. (at least that’s my flawed opinion as an AIK supporter :-)).

This makes me dubious of the chances of attracting him to City though. Division 2 seems a bit too low a level to play at if you’re aiming to get into the national team as well. But if City have any chance of getting Asper, they should take it.

Mattias Svensson (,


None to report since last issue (thank you God!).


Still no “Why Blue”s to print. I suppose it’s ‘cos you’re all out there feverishly writing away, so Ashley’s going to have to devote a whole omnibus edition just to “Why Blue”s when he takes the reins back!


Headline “The Inevitable Collapse Of Manchester City”

Another Bad Buy for Manchester City

Lee Bradbury’s proposed £1.5m move from Second Division Manchester City to Crystal Palace of Division One appears set to be completed without a hitch, so adding yet another sorry chapter to the turbulent history of Britain