Newsletter #466

City have finally got the man they wanted (on loan), namely Terry Cooke. It’s reported that he’s a dead cert to start against Fulham on Saturday, which means that he’ll probably be on the bench – we don’t want the boys getting light-headed with all those crosses coming in all of a sudden, do we? City’s youth programme has also been in evidence, with the services of highly rated England U15 midfielder Jamie Almond being secured.

This issue has plenty of opinion, with the Reid debate once again generating some heat; news of mousemats and screensavers; an appeal from Phil Noble; and an unusual Why Blue.

Next game, Fulham at home, Saturday 16th January 1999


Rough Justice

As expected, the review of Andy Morrison’s red card in the Cup match at Wimbledon failed to reverse referee Graham Poll’s verdict. However, Wimbledon’s Carl Cort, dismissed in the same incident, has had his sending off commuted to a booking. Joe Royle was absolutely livid, admitting, “It’s the injustice of the situation which really hurts”. I already felt there was injustice as, on the same day, Bristol City’s Akinbiyi and Everton’s Unsworth were involved in a worse fracas, as was Neil Ruddock in the West Ham vs. Swansea tie; all escaped with yellow cards. However, why Royle’s so furious, and why I fully share his increased anger, is because of the double standard applied in this case; Morrison and Cort haven’t been treated equally.

For once I can comment from a position of having seen the incident (I didn’t get a good view at the match but saw it several times on TV), and to say that Cort was more sinned against than sinner is just a joke. I presume the ref felt that as Morrison’s retaliatory push connected with Cort’s face, he was guilty of raising his hands at an opponent and this justified the sending-off. This ignores the fact that both intent and contact were minimal – his opponent didn’t even recoil backwards whereas given Morrison’s physique, if he’d been inclined to throw a proper punch Cort would be regaining consciousness just about now. Moreover, Cort instigated the incident from a prone position after being fairly dispossessed and continued to be the aggressor when Morrison turned round, quite understandably, to remonstrate with him. All this is to say nothing of the fact that another Wimbledon player then piled into Morrison after his push and completely escaped punishment. Royle put the verdict down to favouritism for a Premiership club, but whether or not he’s right, City can feel hard done by. Unfortunately, there’s no further avenue of appeal, so Morrison’s three-game ban (starting with the Fulham game on Saturday) will stand.

Cooke finally arrives

After uncertainty over if and then when Terry Cooke would arrive, followed by mystery as to why he lined up for Wrexham last Saturday, the player is finally at Maine Road and is expected to make his début against Fulham. Cooke, a former room-mate of City’s Michael Brown when the pair were playing for England under-21s, obviously had his football cliché book to hand when speaking to journalists. He offered the standard Maine Road new boy’s remark that “this is a massive club”, said he won’t feel the pressure because he’s been with “the biggest club in the world” (when did he play for Barca?) and explained that he’s passing up the chance to be part of United’s Champions League squad because, in the perennial words of the out-of-favour reserve, “at this stage in my career I need first team football”.

Aussie on trial

Reports say that Joe Royle is looking at Australian Fausto De Amicis to fill the problem left-back role (just as our last Australian was supposed to do). He’s training with City this week and is likely to be given an outing in the reserve team so JR can assess him in match action. There’s no word on De Amicis’ last club, but he’s been training recently with Middlesbrough. With a name like his, I’d guess there’s an Italian passport there somewhere to circumvent work permit problems if we do eventually decide to take him on.

Peepo goes through keyhole

Kakhaber Tskhadadze, who broke down last week in his comeback from the knee injury he sustained at Fulham in August, has undergone keyhole surgery and will be back in training in three to four weeks. As expected, a scan revealed cartilege damage, but thankfully it was relatively minor. Joe Royle said he’ll be pleased to welcome back a player of Peepo’s quality and had kind words for the attitude of the man he was prepared to off-load to Maccabi Tel-Aviv for a cut-price £50,000 six short months ago.

Weaver, Fenton to miss run-in?

News that the England under-20 side is due to play in the World Under-20 Championships in Nigeria from April 3 to 24 is likely to set alarm bells ringing at Maine Road. Joe Royle is hardly likely to be thrilled about losing Nicky Weaver and possibly Nick Fenton for up to six matches during the run in to the season, especially as neither would be likely to be in the English first eleven. Aston Villa are getting pretty het up about the possible inclusion of Gareth Barry and United don’t want Wes Brown to go, so maybe pressure will force the FA to omit from the squad, players who are first-team regulars at their clubs. Though on recent evidence of our treatment by the FA, they’ll make an exception in Weaver’s case. The squad is expected to be named within the next couple of weeks.

Ajax to let Kinky leave

Dutch radio has announced that Ajax are willing to allow Georgiou Kinkladze to leave. New coach Jan Wouters apparently believes the Georgian isn’t suited to the Ajax system – though as they tried to fit him in to an orthodox rôle on the left wing, I’m not altogether surprised. By all accounts he’s rarely shown his best form, and there have been whispers since the autumn that he’s failed to settle in Holland. This week it was even reported he’d been fined for refusing to go on a club trip to Africa.

Now all bets are on as to where he’ll go next. Of course, City reportedly have first option on Kinkladze if he leaves Ajax, so what price a fairytale return to Maine Road? Well, probably none. If the option was ever envisaged as more than just a meaningless sop to the fans, I’m sure it was intended to be exercised a few years down the line, when we were back in the Premier League and in a more stable financial position. As we recently balked at the combined fee and wages for Craig Hignett, it seems unlikely we’d find the cash for Kinkladze, even if his love for City would lead him to be willing to play in Nationwide League Division Two. And of course, even if the money’s there and he wants to return, we’re still managed by the man who selected Kinky for three starts in fifteen games at the end of last season.

Ins and Outs

Transfer-listed midfielder Jeff Whitley has gone on a month’s loan to Wrexham. Ironically, the move comes in the same week as Terry Cooke has finished his loan spell with the Welsh side prematurely to come to Maine Road. Incidentally, Wrexham have also taken former Blue Carl Griffiths on loan from Leyton Orient. Meanwhile, after signing Irish youngster Gary Brown earlier in the week, City have landed another sought-after schoolboy – James Almond, from Scarborough, who’s an England under-15 international. Looks like building for the future is going well – might be an idea to sort out the present, too!

Share price rises again

For the third time since Christmas, the price of City shares has risen. As has already been noted, from the pre-festive 70p, it increased first to 80p and then again to 85p. It now stands at 90p, which is the highest I’ve seen on the Ofex site since the summer. Frustratingly, all I can say is that the only credible reason for this is that there’s something potentially quite interesting going on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, despite some fairly extensive searching, I’ve seen no comment as to what this might be. Because of my location, it’s entirely possible that I could miss stories in the UK press and local speculation in Manchester. If anyone does come across anything of interest from a source I may not have, I’d be happy to receive details – I’d like to convey to the MCIVTA public something a little more substantive than the fairly self-evident observation that there must be a reason for such a significant movement of the share price.

Fulham preview

Saturday sees pre-season promotion favourites City (without the suspended Morrison and possibly missing Michael Brown through injury) take on erstwhile second favourites Fulham at Maine Road in front of what should be another big crowd. As we all know, regrettably it’s Fulham rather than us who’ve taken the Division by storm, and by all accounts they looked pretty useful against Premiership opposition last night when dumping Southampton out of the FA Cup. Their away form is extremely impressive, too, with 23 points from twelve outings on their travels, so if we’re to take anything from the match we’ll have to live up to the adage that we usually play better against the top teams. Though City are well ahead overall in meetings between the two teams, of the five in my lifetime (which began in 1969), we’ve drawn one and lost four. A couple of the defeats have been especially dismal, even by City’s standards – like the trouncing in the second game of this season and the even worse 5-1 catastrophe in 1983-84 when we were five down after 47 minutes. About time we put the record straight, I think.

Peter Brophy (


McVitee FC (football team for this mailing list) are looking to enter a tournament in Greece on the 10/11 July. So far there are 9 teams entered and I am looking for players who would like to join us.

The teams entered already are:

UK: Arsenal, West Ham United, Luton, Chelsea, Man City
Italy: Fiorentina
Russia: a united team from all the Russian soccer mailing lists
Greece: 2 teams
Turkey: 1 team

Easyjet offer 80-85 pounds return to Athens. Also if we all stay in the same hotel it’ll cost around 12 quid a night.

If you are interested let me know – you’ll have a great time!

Dave Barker – Manager, McVitee FC (


The London Blues have taken up the challenge of Chairman David Bernstein and will play a football match against his son’s Sunday League team – Cross Keys.

The game will be held at the Clitterhouse Recreation Ground, Claremont Road, Hendon – next to Hendon Football Club – kick off 10.30am.

This will be followed by refreshments and a few beers at Hendon FC.

David Bernstein will be there and there is a possiblity we will have a celebrity referee! City magazine will be represented too.

Anyone who can make it will be very welcome.

Julian Cooke, Chair, Manchester City Supporters’ Club London Branch (


A bit of news on the mouse mat front! Many fans may be interested to hear that the Club have finally released an official mousemat/screensaver set and a kit shaped mousemat to cater for the ever burgeoning market for PC-related products and of course the legions of Blues who now seem to be on the Internet. The screensaver/mousemat set retails at £9.99 and the kit mousemat at £6.99. They are available at the MCFC Superstore, Maine Line Mail Order (0161 226 6000) and shortly in the online web-store

Steve Sayer, MCFC


In response to Paul Rawling’s request for a City screensaver, I have noticed that in ‘GAME’ in the Manchester Arndale they are selling a pack that comprises of a City mouse mat and a disk containing City screensavers and City wallpapers and backgrounds. It is only £9.99, well worth the investment if that’s what you’re after.

Steve Trow (


We all know how frustrating it is being a Blue. But why has this frustration gone on for so long? The whole history of the Club revolves around underachieving, inconsistencies (e.g. winning Division 1 one year, relegation the next!, Beating Huddersfield 10-1 at home, losing 1-0 away). I’m pretty certain there are many more.

The recent history makes dismal reading. Why when we sign decent players do they not do the business for the Blues? Craig Russell, prolific performer for Sunderland, Goater again top man for Bristol City, comes to Maine Road and his form goes. There are lots more – Alan Kernaghan, Nigel Clough, Ged Brannan (I’m not sure if he was any good at Tranmere!), Bradbury, etc.

I happened to watch the start of the Port Vale/Liverpool Cup tie, and Port Vale had two ex-City youngsters who we released and I’d never heard of (what’s going on!)! How frustrating is it when you’re trying to explain to your Berkshire girlfriend that Man City were/are a massive Club, when you’re trying to pick up the score from a Division 3 game at Blackpool!

There is something drastically wrong at our Club. The Joe Royle/Willie Donachie partnership worked at Oldham, so why does it not work at Maine Road? The majority of the players who were apparently not good enough to play in Division 3 with us are now playing at higher levels with tinpot clubs (Niall Quinn, Summerbee, Ashley Ward, Neil Lennon, Michael Hughes, Bradbury, Sheron, Flitcroft, Beesley, Lomas – I could go on but it really upsets me).

Basically there is something wrong with our Club, it’s not the supporters as we’re all still there despite the heartbreak and upsets. There is total mismanagement from the top to the bottom and it has got to be sorted before it is too late. I reckon we need to move from Maine Road and gain fresh impetus (and perhaps a little good fortune). I can’t think of any club in this country where such a catalogue of disasters has occurred.

A few years ago we appeared to have the world at our feet, Franny Lee in, the promise of millions, Gio, The Oasis connection (didn’t it make you feel proud and cool to be a Blue when you had Noel and Liam pronouncing their undying love for the Blues?), the Kappa connection etc. (is it true that our laser blue shirt was the 5th best selling footie shirt in the whole country?).

The failure to capitalise on all this, together with the amazing size of our support, is quite unbelievable. Something has to be done before it’s too late.

It defies logic that we’re struggling in Division 3, we all know Stoke are crap (5-2!) and Reading are worse, so why are those two clubs who were relegated with us achieving better results?

Can anyone help?

Khalid Ahmed (


According to the Daily Mail today (Jan 14th), City have a signed a 15-year-old school boy called James Almond. He is a member of the England Under 15 squad and plays in midfield.

Kinkladze is also very upset in Holland, hardly surprising, when at City everybody worshipped him, and there he is just another run of the mill player, I feel his ego has been somewhat bashed. Apparently his attitude and fitness have been called into question, and he could be on his way back to England. Forget it, we have no chance of signing him, but there goes the chance of a “Kinky” weekend break in Amsterdam.

Final point: I get the feeling that unless Terry Cooke is Diego Maradona or Pele in disguise he is going to come in for a hard time. People might not take to him, because of the club he is at. Please just let him do his best for Manchester City, we’ve been calling out for a decent winger, and we haven’t played against better this season, have we? So be patient and see if he can do the business, remember Summerbee is doing the business at Sunderland, and how much did we get for him, pay peanuts and you get…

CTID, Walter Smith (


Living next door to Malaysia – in Brunei (tucked away in that soccer hotbed – Borneo) I can only say that it’s the same here – though you do get the occasional Liverpool or Arsenal car sticker or shirt. I have however, found a shop where there is last year’s City home kit for sale amongst the Rag detritus. A small crumb of satisfaction I grant you, but it’s things like this which keep you going as you daily wade through the daily scum media deluge that you get here.

P.S. Are there any Blues in Brunei, or anywhere else in Borneo? If there are – get in touch!

CTBFO (city ’til Borneo freezes over), Cam Graham (


I’m sure you may have come across my name in City programmes/magazines or some of the recent books that I have contributed to on City.

I am a collector of City programmes and memorabilia – I was featured in the October 1996 issue of City Magazine if you have it, and contributed loads of stuff for “Manchester the Greatest City“. I started originally when I was 12 and 11 years on require just 4 programmes home and away since 1946/47 including cup games!

As well as collecting myself I also buy/swap/sell City stuff – not just programmes – and produce a catalogue to around 80 collectors in the UK and via the Internet to people who might well be members of MCIVTA.

I’m still going through the slow process of setting up a website to show some of my collection and advertise my duplicates of City memorabilia eventually with some links via the City web pages to help potentially other City nuts who might be interested in collecting but don’t know where to go to start.

I wondered if anyone is interested or might actually have stuff I need! I do collect reserves and youth games also!

Thanks in anticipation, Phil Noble (


After freezing my nuts off and being blinded by the Sun at Blackpool on Sunday, I thought I would put hand to keyboard and add on to recent comments made by Alan in the last MCIVTA.

Firstly, yes everything I said in my last email was a repeat of the pre-season babble, but with a difference, which is that City are still getting worse and won’t get out of this Third Division, which concerns me greatly.

I don’t see how anyone can give the board (chairman), manager, and team a vote of confidence when all is still going downhill. Until the slide has been halted then things cannot get better.

My critism of Mr DB is not his commitment, but his availablity. For me, I would want a man in the board room working 24/7 to sort this massive mess out, not 2 days a week. We also need a chairman with money or the power to pull in investors, which DB cannot do.

But Alan you are right, I do spout the same old crap, but that’s because City keep playing it!

Simon (


In reply to Justin Hanson’s comments (MCIVTA 465). Yes, we can all remember the singular occasions when these people performed. A true picture would be a comparison between their good and bad performances. A truer picture would emerge (or did they only play that one game?).

An alleged knowledgeable insider informed me that Curle would always disappear when it got cold in winter. If you check his appearances I think you may find this holds up. If his injuries are genuine you may also find that it is usually hamstring. Possibly caused by one of football’s fastest players being caught out of position, once again, and trying to recover his position.

If you want to mention players still playing in the Premiership, how about Lomas, Brightwell, Hughes, Ward and, soon to be, Quinn and Summerbee. The fact remains we have been totally mismanaged, and I think we’re still a season away from getting it together.

The plaudits should go to Sam Hamman who gets the maximum price for ordinary players. We have been, and continue to be, pretty crap in the transfer market. Buy ’em big, sell ’em cheap. Having said all that, I am Blue through and through, am one of the despised 70’s supporters (could take the pressure off the team if we’re the ones to be picked on, and yes you are allowed to whinge when you’ve paid lots of money to see us be successful, I’m just sorry you younger fans haven’t had the chance) and being an exile I don’t get to many games. I’m there on commentary every game via the wonderful web and if I see you at the Stoke game, which I will be attending, I’ll buy you a drink. Because we are the best in the world (unfortunately I mean the fans).

Dave (CBIC City Because I Can) Kilroy (


In his response to my criticism of Peter Reid, Justin Hanson supported Reid’s decisions to purchase Phelan and Curle, which as I pointed out was just a couple of examples of Reid’s hopeless attempts at team construction (thanks to other responses from MCIVTA’ers, we can now add Ashley Ward and Neil Lennon to the increasing list of Reid cast offs!). I will close my opinion in this area, by asserting once again that at the time we bought Phelan and Curle, they were way overpriced and completely unnecessary for the squad IMO. Justin are you saying that the circa £5 million outlay to replace Hendry and Pointon with Curle and Phelan was worthwhile? They may be quite okay players, but we really are talking about paying record prices at the time. Maybe Reid would have been better getting Sinclair and Aldridge when he had the options – that’s my opinion on where the money could have gone. So Curle played half a game for England – this is nothing compared to Hendry’s outstanding contribution to his country. I also do not believe Hendry wanted to leave City – it is more likely Reid forced him out, and the usually big spending Kenny D. took us to the cleaners, getting an absolute bargain.

Phelan’s so called goal against Spurs had no value or merit whatsoever – the pitch invasion saw to that, besides which, he was bought as a defender, which is what concerned me about his game and his £2.5 million price tag. Sadly, I don’t think he could even do this job particularly well (the Kanchelskis roasting at Old Trafford comes painfully to mind). On the subject of the infamous Spurs match, I was actually there (not that it matters), and have a good memory, yet I still cannot think of a single decent thing see to say about this game, except of course that it is a perfect example to cite as a counter to the pro-Reid camp because as I said previously, Reid’s expensive team was absolutely humiliated in this match.

It is also ironic that you mention that Curle is now playing at a higher level than City… when Reid sold Hendry and Pointon to Blackburn and Oldham, he said that he didn’t want to “…discuss players who were now playing at a lower level than City.” So it seems you can use this argument any way you please. We spent £5 million on these players and got maybe £0.75 million back – sadly it’s not the first or last time for City to do this sort of thing! And I for one am fed up with up with us always being ripped off in the transfer market.

As for you not even reading my comments on Franny Lee – that is precisely the point I was making – so many people jumped on the “Lee out” bandwagon without bothering to think it through, that I wanted some input as to why City fans were so anti-Franny. Particularly given that he is an ex-Blue, a true champion type leader, and a brilliant businessman to boot. For the things he did for us as a player in the 70’s and dare I say attempted as our chairman, he deserved a lot better than a dubious ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude to his ousting. If people cannot be bothered to think too hard about (our causing) his departure, then who can blame him for not putting his own hard earned cash into the club? For example, would you have put forward £10 million for Frank Clark to spend? Noel Gallagher’s comments in this area also spring to mind “…if I put all my hard earned cash into City, and then if it all goes wrong, all the City scallies (his phrase) will slag me off and hate me for it.”

Anyway, I am indebted to Colin Jonas and Martin Ford to name just a few MCIVTA contributors, who gave me some excellent arguments as to why they felt Lee should go – this is what I/we use MCIVTA for (and of course, thanks again to the backroom boys for their invisible support in all of this). Note that some people are already demanding that Bernstein should go, and I just hope they can be ‘bothered’ to think through their reasoning, and not make a knee-jerk response to their frustration at our struggles; it might not actually be Bernstein’s fault, and I’m not convinced that throwing money at the problem will help either. It hasn’t before.

Thanks anyway for the feeback Justin, there’s always a good range of contrary opinions in MCIVTA, although I must admit I’m getting a bit pensive about putting forward my pro-Alan Ball posting now!

Regards to All Blues everywhere – you’ve got to laugh really haven’t you? Wouldn’t it be great if the only thing we had to worry about was whether we can sit or stand at home matches!

Neil Haigh (


I moved to the Cayman Islands. Been here a week.

Okay, it could be said that I’m deserting… the cold weather at least. But I couldn’t be without the Blues. Thankfully we get soccer (Match of the Day) on a Saturday and Monday night – saw the ‘Boro Villa game last nite, Gazza looked sharp (there’s even Coronation Street, so that keeps scores square with my girlfriend and me). No sign of a Blues game tho’. Still, I’ve got McVitee and, that’s going to have to be enough.

Are there any other Blues around? Chances somewhere between fat and slim? I’ve been to two pubs that serve Caffreys and have big-screen cable TV, with English soccer full-time. Heaven?

I’ve found that stress has been completely removed from my life, in one week. My job is good, the people are (somewhat suspiciously) so friendly. The proof of it came when I read the damning reports of Blackpool. Back home I’d be slamming around the place all night. But here? – I just took out an iced beer and sat on the patio in a pair of shorts.

B*****d aren’t I?

Andy Gascoigne – George Town, Grand Cayman (


I have lived most of my life in the West Midlands, surrounded by supporters of Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion, teams I have previously had the honour of looking down upon from a footballing point of view.

My father and his family lived in Manchester all their lives, and during a visit with him in 1981, he decided to take me to see my very first football match. He chose the League Cup Tie at Maine Road against Notts County (then a 2nd Division club) where City massacred them 5-1, including a 4-goal spree by the great Dennis Tueart (I seem to remember the other goals may have been scored by Dave Bennett for us and Trevor Christie for them, but I could be wrong).

As an 8-year-old watching his first football match, the euphoria of scoring 5 goals was simply mind-blowing. I may even have come away from the game thinking (in error) that all Manchester City games would boast such dramatic scorelines. Either way, it was enough for me to fall in love with football as a game and Man City as a team. This was particularly difficult as there were no other Man City fans anywhere near my home town, and the only ones who didn’t support Wolves or West Brom tended to be affiliated to another Manchester team who shall remain nameless.

Still I persevered and attended several home and away games with my father that season. The club at the time was somewhat in a state of flux with the new manager John Bond coming in and arranging the transfers of the now legendary trio of Hutchinson (God, how I’ll never forget him), McDonald and Gow. This was, lest we forget, the season when we reached the League Cup semi-final against Liverpool, and the FA Cup Final against Tottenham.

I was fortunate enough to be at the FA Cup semi-final against Ipswich at Villa Park as it was near to my home, and I will never forget the roar in the ‘new stand’ there when Paul Power scored his extra time goal which sent us through to the final. I remember the noise after the goal rather than the goal itself, as being only 8, I had a hard time seeing the pitch with the assembled throng standing up in front of me. The moment was nevertheless unique and will remain with me always. I did not manage to attend the final at Wembley, and had to make do with watching it on TV.

The first game against Spurs was as every City fan knows, split between absolute elation when Hutchinson connected with his header, and absolute disbelief when Hutchinson connected with his shoulder later on. Even this did not compare with the replay, when at 2-1 up, I thought we had the cup in the bag, only to be devastated by a certain Argentinian. Somebody could perhaps confirm something for me which remains a mystery to this day regarding Garth Crooks goal against us, as I seem to remember there being talk about the goal being offside. I have not seen the clip in later years to confirm it, but at my age at the time I did not fully understand the offside rule and couldn’t comment either way. When the final whistle blew however, I was in no doubt about my emotions, and spent months afterwards commenting on how unlucky we were to anyone who would listen.

The memory of following City through the rest of my formative years is coloured totally by a blurr of managers. Good and bad, with the omnipresent image of P J Swales etched in my mind. Regardless of our misfortunes, I have never wavered in my belief in the team, despite not being able to see them as often as I’d like, and hope one day to see them back where they belong. I hope that I won’t have to wait too much longer to see them resume their path in the top flight, with cup runs, but in many ways I am glad that I am now an adult with a lot more patience than I had as a child, because patience is something we are all going to need in the next few years.

DT Knight (


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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 #466