Newsletter #495

Oh dear! In time-honoured fashion, the Blues took their somewhat slim chances of automatic promoton and blew them with a truly awful performance. Morrison and Wiekens were well below par – clearly carrying injuries – so one really has to feel sorry for Vaughan who has, after all, played very well at centre half, but is continually shunted out left, even when the 2 central players are not fit to play! However, no one can come out of the game with any credit, they were all, that bad!

City must now reckon with the play-offs (barring some calamitous performances in our two remaining games). This issue contains a couple of macth reports; the last (for this season anyway) of the excellent Anorak’s Guide; feedback for Tony Burns; and a reminder that some clubs are in a lot worse position than us (Luton). Lastly. there’s plenty of opinion, mainly about anti-Man Utd articles/chants, and another excellent Why Blue.

This one reaches 2,461.

Next game, Bristol Rovers away, Saturday 1st May 1999



Just when you think things are going OK, you get brought down to earth with a sudden and uncomfortable bump. Our own result against this small town team and Walsall’s success in their away game at Lincoln mean that barring an act of God it’s the play-offs for us and not the automatic place we so nearly made.

The day had started in such a promising way. The previous evening’s torrential rain had disappeared during the morning, the combination of the relatively clear sky and the rising sun did enough to provide a pleasant temperature as we made our way to the Academy. I love the games when the sun’s out, somehow the ground looks all the better when the delightful collection of Robe Di Kappa is there for all the world to see instead of being hidden under the normal collection of overcoats and jackets.

Unless someone can correct me, I have a suspicion that Wycombe doesn’t actually exist as a town or city in the UK. As none of us knew the location of this place I thought I would check out what Encarta World Atlas had to say about it; well sure enough it showed Wycombe in Buckinghamshire but there was no other information about it. I thought that rather odd as a week or two previously I had even been able to find facts out about somewhere called Lincoln, a place that family, colleagues or I had never heard of before.

I think then that Wycombe must be some sort of transit camp hidden away from the rest of us. We were delighted that City had allocated them to the temporary stand, or as we prefer to call it the Gene Kelly stand (as it provides opportunities for singing in the rain). I sincerely hope that this practice is continued on future occasions and ensure that all away fans sit out in the open. It will be brilliant to see them p**s wet through and freezing in winter. The travelling folk from Wycombe certainly didn’t feel let down by it, just being part of the occasion was obviously enough for them. As we walked across the Kippax car park we saw them high in the stand gazing out in wonder across the car park, I think they were nervously checking the five steel horses that had brought them for the game. Some had actually soiled themselves outside the ground I suppose it was just the excitement of being at the Academy that had produced that most embarrassing of nervous reactions.

They certainly had a way of their own, speaking in excited tongues and staring with wide-open eyes. I wondered again as to the geographical location of Wycombe and sheer curiosity made me ask one of them exactly where Wycombe was?

His command of English was actually quite good and he was able to grunt ‘third from bottom’; it wasn’t quite what I was hoping to establish but was revealing in a way.

As the team came out I couldn’t help but scoff at the lack of imagination that had gone into this kit. Red shirt, red shorts and red hose. The shirt was topped by a traditional v-neck collar trimmed in white, with a white hoop around each sleeve end. The players used the sleeves to put their arms through and in a similar fashion used the shorts to swathe the lower part of their trunk.

Mr Taylor, the opposition ‘keeper, sported a rather garish combination of a green shirt, yellow shorts and yellow hose, none of which complemented the outfit worn by his footballing colleagues.

When the game did start it was in front of a good crowd, 29,337 and I don’t have a great deal to say about the match other than it was desperately disappointing. I think the team just didn’t get it together at all. The team was shaky right from the start. Our back four, which have done so much of late to inspire confidence, were not the usual picture of composure that we have come to expect. Wiekens just didn’t look fit and the telepathic relationship between him and Weaver was not quite up to it. Add to that some misunderstandings between Morrison as well and it was no wonder that we were trailing after about a quarter of an hour. It was a good goal to be honest and we really felt for young Weaver who had been so keen to keep a clean sheet. In the next 15 we had loads of chances but couldn’t stretch the net, Terry Cooke our bright hope looked a little jaded, perhaps too many broken nights with his new baby Charlie(?) were having an effect, the Goat was missing a clean touch in way that is all too frequent really and Dickov shot wide. I have to say Dickov’s work rate and effort are second to none, he just keeps on going and trying and we will need that level of commitment 10 times over from everybody as we a face the mountain of the semi-final play-offs in a few weeks’ time.

Morrison, who has been a jewel in our defence this year, made a foolish mistake to let the Wycombe player through to slam a low, hard and fast shot past the despairing Weaver. Just as Morrison knew he had made a mess of it then in unison the folk in the Gene Kelly stand messed themselves in the excitement of turning us over.

Just after that probably saw as good a City spell as we have seen this season; we were at them now with a vengeance, Dickov shot close and Horlock’s free kick from just outside the box looked for all the world like it had been cleared by a hand. We were beginning to look good value and the crowd was up and down as the Blues pressed for the first goal. When Goater picked up Allsopp’s cross he gave us hope as the net strained to contain the leather projectile that had been fired from the Goat’s hoof. It really was game on now and when the whistle went for the first 45 we were unlucky not to have cracked a couple in during the last 15 minutes.

The second half was not great. We had a decent spell towards the end (the last 15 minutes or so) but we looked like a team that was having a bad day.

We did come close a couple of times and I have to say that the refereeing was of a poor standard, but to be honest have come to expect that as the norm in this hellhouse of a football league. I think we had good claims for a couple of penalties but it was not to be.

So the game ended 1-2. I’ve got mixed feelings really. I am very disappointed of course that we got beat, but realistically after our spell around the back end of last year an automatic place was really the stuff of dreams. We had to challenge for the play-offs and that’s where we are now going. If our glorious run had to be interrupted in these final high-octane stages of this torrid league then better it this one than the semi-final or heaven forbid our glorious day out at Wembley. The Walsall win keeps them on track for second place, we should make third or fourth and hopefully this defeat will have served as an almighty reminder of the banana skins that are out there.

All credit to Wycombe though, they battled for the points more than we did, although there were shades of Wimbledon about their game and the ‘keeper had a great day, they must be well pleased with themselves.

The good news of the day of course was that our footballing friends Arsenal managed to hit six in their game and top the Rags. Let’s hope with all out hearts that by the time you read this Leeds have made the Rags into Yorkshire Puddings.

Tony Burns (



This was a last-minute decision to go to this game, so my lucky jumper (now resembling a scruffy cloth) was left at the bottom of the wash basket (very smelly indeed). So off I trotted up to Manchester courtesy of a lift (superb). Got to Rusholme and was in the Clarence for 12 noon, stopping off next door for a wonderful Kebab, just to top up the good night before. Things after 5 pints were looking up, we were on a roll and Wycombe would come to our place see the crowd, freeze, and we would bury them.

Which git forgot to tell Wycombe the script? I was sat in the Main Stand for the first time, and it is very quiet compared to my usual North Stand ticket, oh well, at least the view of the game is a lot better. On to the game, within the first couple of minutes there was a warning sign with one of the Wycombe forwards closing down Nicky Weaver and the clearance went out behind for a goal kick. Another couple of minutes on and McSporran turned over a useful looking cross, for one of their forwards to turn over the bar, we looked decidedly jittery. On the 15th minute, Devine flicked a ball on to Baird who coolly slotted it past Weaver (the record might will have to wait at least one game longer); I feel Morrison was at fault for this, he had a bad start. City stepped up the pace and could/should have been back on level terms, a good effort by Brown was tipped around the post, there was also a mad scramble in the box which just wouldn’t go in (typical). Vaughan also had a decent volley go wide of the goal.

At this point the Friday night caught up with me and I headed for a dump; just as I had done the deed there was a cheer all around Maine Road – two possibilities: City had scored, or my dump had been shown on the TVs dotted around the stands. I got back to my seat, what? 2-0, this was depressing, and the 5 pints were not meant to make you feel bad. I asked the bloke next to me what had happened, according to him Morrison was at fault again (oh dear, his son the mascot wouldn’t be to happy with his ol’ man’s performance today).

City then poured forward, Allsopp came on for Vaughan (to be fair Allsopp was on the pitch for 60 minutes, I didn’t think he made one contribution to the whole match, I only realised he was on the pitch when he got substituted near the end). Goater got a chance at about the penalty spot and buried it (such is the confidence of the crowd that half the Platt Lane covered its face for fear of been hit by a Goater shot). 2-1 and we are looking good, Dickov had a chance to pull it level but couldn’t hit the target when put through. City could have had a couple more, but didn’t capitalise on the chances made, (a certain feeling of déjà vu).

The second half came and Wycombe had re-organised at half time and we didn’t look like breaking them down as easily. Morrison hit the bar (thankfully with the ball), but that was about it for the second half, they didn’t look like scoring and neither did we; dull, very dull. Onwards to the play-offs.

Walter Smith (


OK, so we lost on Saturday. From the chorus of booing and jeering at the final whistle, it could have been a reflection of the team that turned in so many hapless performances last Autumn. But it wasn’t. It was our all conquering heroes of late, who had a few players out of sorts, a few carrying injuries and didn’t have any luck.

We conceded two goals and gave them another two good chances. Who was to blame? From the abuse and vitriol where I was sitting, obviously Richard Edghill. Wrong. It was Morrison and Wiekens. They were at fault on both the goals and many other occasions on Saturday. Now, both of them were barely fit. I mean, how often do you see Wiekens have to step in front of his opponent to prevent a run on goal? How often is Morrison nowhere to be seen during an attack? Joe picked them. Ask him.

But one misplaced pass from Edghill (from which nothing came), after an afternoon of solid defending and supporting the attack, and it’s f**k off Edghill again. Yawn, yawn.

At the other end, we had countless chances on Saturday. We hit the bar, were denied by the ‘keeper, shaved the outside of the post etc. Dickov and Allsopp really should have converted at least one of their many chances. Brown and Bishop’s finishing was (as usual) dire. Yet who is abused from start to finish ? Why, our goal scorer Shaun Goater. OK, so he fell over his laces again. But he worked hard, gave countless lay-offs for Dickov and Allsopp and converted his one chance.

A new trend seemed to emerge on Saturday. In the area where I was sitting, a few individuals (about three) emerged, operating independently. From the start it was f**k off Goater (and worse) and then f**k off, you **** to any Blue who disagreed. Various slanging matches ensued, with the red-necked, bulging veined aggressors happy to take on anyone who thought they were hard enough. Amazingly the abuse, to Goater and fellow Blues, got worse when Goater scored. Needless to say, they led the discontent at the end. Maybe my standards are low, but we weren’t that bad. We created as many chances as I’ve seen in weeks. There was a lot of complacency early on and a few normally reliable players had off days.

Incredibly, the Teamtalk web page has now taken to slagging off Goater. From yesterday, we have:

So Shaun Goater got City’s only goal of the afternoon, but once again some might suggest that he should be banned from going near anything round.

It would be easier to try and explain why Shaun Goater gets a game every week than to try and single out City’s Man of the Match for the afternoon.

I find this incredible. On Saturday, Morrison, Wiekens, Brown and Bishop either made fatal mistakes or had poor games. Weaver will be caught out soon from one of his delayed clearances. Cooke was easily intimidated by his marker and as I said above, Allsopp and Dickov should have tested the ‘keeper more.

Goater is up to nineteen goals now. As I’ve gone on about n times before, he’s paid to be a Second Division goalscorer and thats what he does. If the rest of the team fitted their job descriptions that well, we’d be laughing.

Still, I’ve been a Blue thirty years today, yes it’s that long since we won the Cup.

Andy Noise (


Automatic Hopes Dashed

So, after the recent, incessant debate over whether Walsall would crack, it ended up being City who slipped up in the run-in. However, we can’t really say it was Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Wycombe which has cost us a top two place. Even allowing for Saturday’s slip up, we have 48 points from 22 games since Christmas and have gained ten points on Walsall since then. It’s still a tremendous record, but unfortunately, before we started that run we were in twelfth place and were trailing the Saddlers by fifteen points. We simply left ourselves with too much to do. This is a view shared by Joe Royle, who reflected, “We were 15 points behind second place at Christmas and well off the pace so in the end we’ve done well to get near.” However, the mood on BV lurched from the near-euphoria of recent weeks to pessimism over play-off prospects following another home defeat by lowly opponents. Thankfully, it’s the top six not the bottom six who qualify for the play-offs – otherwise we could pack up now. Meanwhile, it doesn’t sound as if it was an auspicious day for the Blues off the pitch either. Many on BV were upset at what they perceived as sections of the crowd getting on the team’s back, while there were reports of the Wycombe fans’ coaches being bricked by City fans after the game. All in all a day to forget.

City Look for Play-Off Switch

City have apparently already approached the Football League to see if it would be viable to play the play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday 15 May rather than on the scheduled date 24 hours later. The Sunday is the last day of the Premier League season, and the Blues want to avoid a clash – especially as the title race and the relegation battle in the top flight both appear to have the potential to go to the wire. The League has indicated it would have no objection to the switch, meaning that it’s down to City and our opponents to agree on the revised date. The club is said already to be approaching the other likely participants in the end of season lottery.

City Stars Miss Select Side

The PFA’s all-star Second Division line-up, voted by the professionals themselves, failed to contain a single City player. While it’s not, perhaps, a surprise that none of the City strikers were competing for a place in the elite, one or two of the squad may feel a little aggrieved. Nicky Weaver, for instance, lost out to Fulham’s Maik Taylor, while Gerard Wiekens was kept out by Fulham’s Chris Coleman and Burnley’s Steve Davis.

Reserves Lose

City reserves were beaten 3-2 last Thursday night by Port Vale in a home match at Hyde, and the season which began so well now seems to be ending in a whimper. Goals from Gary Mason and a Gareth Taylor penalty weren’t enough for the Blues to take anything from the game, thanks in large part to one of their own players. Steve Rimmer scored against City for the second successive game – he notched West Brom’s winner in the previous reserve game. At least on this occasion he was actually playing for the opposition – he’s on trial with the Potteries club, bidding to join former City juniors Brian McGlinchey and Neil Brisco, along with the more venerable Paul Beesley, at Vale Park.

Summer Clear-Out Expected

Rimmer moving down the M6 would be one of what looks set to amount in the end to many outgoing transfers this summer. Of the senior players, Neil Heaney is out of contract and looks unlikely to be offered new terms, while Craig Russell, Murtaz Shelia, Chris Greenacre and Jeff Whitley are transfer listed. It’s also considered possible that other fringe players will be moved on, too, to make way for any new signings Royle may have up his sleeve (though this will probably depend on David Bernstein’s ability to secure a cash injection). However, even without bringing in new blood, the City manager will no doubt be looking to complete the process he began on his arrival at Maine Road – giving us a squad of a sensible size. Meanwhile, with some of the club’s promising youngsters (Shaun Wright-Phillips prominent among them) likely to be offered professional arrangements, some of the recent youth team graduates who haven’t made the grade are also likely to wave goodbye to Moss Side. In addition to Steve Rimmer, the likes of Alan Reilly and Andrew Porteous are being mentioned in this regard.

Friendly Programme Taking Shape

Despite this season looking like it has more than a month to run, City are already arranging pre-season friendlies for the build-up to the new campaign. Last year, the club played only domestic fixtures, and judging from the three summer fixtures announced so far, the pattern will be repeated. However, it may not be a coincidence that following three home friendlies last year which drew an aggregate of under 12,000 fans, the matches announced so far are all away from Maine Road. On Saturday 24th July, there’ll be a trip to Ashton Gate for a match which is part of the Shaun Goater transfer deal. Next is a trip to Goodison Park the following Wednesday, while on Saturday 31st, City travel to Stockport.

My Absence

I’ll be away from work (and hence computer) for the next two issues of MCIVTA, and Geoff Donkin will be doing the news again (hope his good run of results continues). Please send all news stories to See you again for the York game… and the play-offs, of course.

Peter Brophy (


He arrived at the worst time in our history, he didn’t have to, but he did, and he’s really turned the club around. Joe Royle has really made Man City something to be proud of, it now seems we’ve got the stability back into the club that everyone wanted, and with some luck, we could get promoted this season. So, in respect of this, I think it’s only fair that all of us City fans should thank Joe for the work he’s done this season. I know that this could be quite hard, so if you all email me, and send me a message in this format:

YOUR NAME Small comment for Joe

I will put them all in a letter and send it to him in the next few days, so get cracking, and show Joe how much support he has! Thanks.

David Scally – Stockport (


A good friend of mine and a true Blue has been seriously ill for some time. A few weeks ago at the Millwall game he was given a free box by the club, great hospitality from all the backroom staff and JR and a few of the first team came to see him before and after the match. The club gave him a memorable day.

Unfortunately, he is in hospital now in Sheffield undergoing some particularly nasty treatment which has made him seriously ill. Andy Morrison is a frequent visitor, spending time talking to my friend’s wife, supporting her through this very difficult time. This type of unselfish gesture from Andy, and the previously mentioned kindness from the backroom staff has been an enormous help to my friend and his family in keeping their spirits up during a very difficult time. Thanks to all at Maine Road.

Tom Tait (


To all MCIVTA readers. You will know that over the season I have submitted match reports for most home games, and as is perhaps appropriate for our fine club concentrated less on the football and more on the oddities of our opponents.

It seems that recently my writings have upset a couple of people, some of whom have mailed me privately and more recently an open letter in this fine on line publication. I’d be pretty interested to know whether or not the majority of folk who read the match reports find them entertaining and worth continuing, or dull and offensive and time to stop.

A recent letter from a reader who found my reference to Lincoln rather unfair and lacking in respect. A fellow reader in the next MCIVTA wrote in defence saying how much he has enjoyed the match reports, indeed I have a number of private e-mails to this effect.

I would be genuinely interested in your comments. For my part I do try to make the match reports amusing, not least for fellow Blues who are overseas or for any Blue who wants to be there and can’t make it. I don’t take it too seriously and I hope I never do.

Anyone who has been to Maine Road must know that when I make references to fans enjoying the open spaces and ‘it seeming like a trip to the country’ must know it’s not really completely accurate.

It’s a little like our fellow Blue who wrote from Lincoln suggesting that it was unfair to say that Lincoln was a city of farming yokels with two tractors in every drive. Come on did you say drives?

Let me know what you think.

Tony Burns (


Typical! Absolutely bloody typical. Just as you start to think the Blues can do it – they blow it. I don’t know what it is about our team that makes them self destruct in so spectacular a fashion, but they’ve been doing it for 30 years to my knowledge (60 years according to my father) and they’ll probably keep on doing it for the next 30. Saturday’s game was a comedy classic that will live in my mind for a long time – a superb example of why we are in the Third Division (for that is what it really is) and why we will probably not gain promotion this season.

Just what were the Blues doing in the first 25 minutes? Wycombe were up for it and City? – Well, they were still in the dressing room. The attitude was “The three points are ours lads: We don’t have to do much to get them – after all Wycombe are near the bottom of the league.”

This attitude was typified by our captain Andy Morrison. His first defensive howler occurred in the 15th minute when he failed to follow Andrew Baird into the penalty area – he obviously thought that Wiekens was going to win the header from a poor cross. Well he didn’t: A Wycombe player flicked the ball on, Baird ran onto it and blasted the ball past the helpless Weaver. I can just about forgive this lapse, but the second? – It was like watching Laurel and Hardy: Wiekens heads it down to the feet of Morrison who just stops as the Wycombe striker Sean Devine runs past him, picks up the ball and ‘divinely’ places the ball past the incredulous Weaver…

Still the second goal seemed to spur on the Blues (why the first didn’t is beyond me – but it didn’t) and for the rest of the half we camped in Wycombe’s half. Royle brought Allsopp on for Vaughan, but our attack still couldn’t do the business. In the last 15 minutes of the first half City had 20 chances to make amends but failed to capitalise on any of them until Shaun Goater pulled a goal back just on the stroke of half time when he swept in Allsopp’s superb right-wing cross.

So after a crap start City were back on track. We all thought that City would continue the second half as they finished the first. So what an anti-climax when it wasn’t. City had a stack of possession but couldn’t do anything with it. Wycombe just sat back and defended while City’s triumvirate of woeful strikers: Dickov, Goater and Allsopp continued the comedy with a wonderful impression of the Three Stooges.

Lots of crosses and passes went into Wycombe’s penalty area, but they were all wasted by the dynamic trio. Each subsequent chance was wasted – often in schoolboy fashion. The only real chance in the second half was Morrison’s header hitting the top of the bar (to nearly atone for his earlier blunders). Joe Royle tried to change things around by bringing on Taylor for the luckless Allsopp, but, (alas) Taylor was just as much of a donkey as the other three and the game petered out to a defeat for the Blues.

Andy Morrison 3.
Shaun Goater, Paul Dickov, Danny Allsopp and Gareth Taylor 5.
Terry Cooke 8.
Everybody else 7.

Still, we should reach the play-offs unless a disaster ensues. But once there, who will we face? My guess is Wigan. One thing’s for sure though – if our defence performs as badly as it did on Saturday we won’t be going to Wembley let alone getting promotion.

Still, two good things came out of the game:

  1. We won’t go into the play-offs with a long unbeaten run!
  2. The atmosphere at the game was brilliant. City fans were alwaysbehind the team – and if we continue to do that then there is hope ofsuccess in the play-offs.

Oh. I nearly forgot. The very last form guide for this season…

Team        Pld GS Pts  L6   Final   L6   Ave L6     Final    Pos
                        GS    GS     Pts   Pts        Pts
Fulham       43 74 97 (11)11 79.50 (15)13 14.27 (105.50)103.50=1
Walsall      43 58 83  (9) 5 60.50 (13)12 11.00  (90.83) 89.00=2
Preston NE   44 77 78  (9) 9 80.00  (5) 6  9.64  (77.33) 80.00=4
City         44 63 78 (13)11 66.67 (16)13 13.27  (86.00) 82.33=3
Gillingham   44 70 74  (6) 9 73.00  (9) 9 10.27  (77.00) 77.00=5
Bournemouth  43 61 72  (5) 3 62.50  (7) 5  9.91  (75.67) 74.50
Wigan        40 63 65  (7) 9 72.00  (7)10 12.22  (70.17) 75.00=6
Stoke        42 55 63 (11) 9 61.00  (9) 6  5.64  (70.50) 67.00
Chesterfield 43 45 63  (5) 2 46.00  (7) 6  8.73  (66.83) 66.00
Milwall      43 52 62  (9)10 57.00 (12)10  8.36  (71.00) 67.00
Reading      44 52 58  (4) 4 53.33  (1) 1  7.86  (58.50) 58.33
Figures in brackets indicate last week's values
Pld = Played
L6  = Last 6
GS  = Goals Scored
Ave = Average
Pts = Points
Pos = Final Position

P.S. I am getting very concerned at the behaviour of a minority of our so-called supporters. While driving back to the Midlands after the game I spotted two Wycombe coaches that had their rear windows put-out. One coach stopped at the same services where I stopped. On enquiring as to what had happened, they informed me that stones and bottles had been thrown by a group of forty plus supporters who gathered on a street corner that the coaches passed on their way back to Princess Parkway. This type of incident is becoming all too common of late and it must stop – after all we support City not bloody Millwall.

P.P.S. I’ve just seen Ceefax and not one City player has been elected to the PFA Division 2 team by their fellow professionals.

P.P.P.S. Thanks for all the support in preparing these stats, but it really doesn’t take long to put together. It’s all done with an Excel spreadsheet and a visual basic program that reads text from some downloaded web pages. I guess I’ll do it again next year if City have another chance of promotion (hopefully to the Premiership – though I’m not holding my breath).

RTRCWMC (Riding the Roller-Coaster with Man City), Richard Mottershead (


Last Thursday I went into a bookies to place a bet, now this is coming from a man who doesn’t even have a flutter on the Grand National, I placed a bet on the following treble:

Newcastle to win the FA Cup 6/4
Bayern Munich Champions League 5/4
Arsenal to win the Premiership 15/8

Now after this weekend it’s looking ever so slightly better, with games going Arsenal’s way in the league, I put a £10 bet on and if it all comes up, I’ll win about £150. I just thought you City fans might be interested in them results, can’t think why? Maybe Thursday’s hyped up papers would explain such rash actions.

Fingers and toes crossed.

Walter Smith (


Assuming we don’t lose either of our remaining home games, which I hope is a fairly safe bet, we will have gone the whole season without any team doing the double over us.

Does anyone know when was the last time this happened?

James Nash (




Dear Fellow Football Supporter,

I apologise for this intrusion on your mailing list but I am appealing to you on behalf of FLAG, Fans of Luton Action Group.

Luton Town, formed in 1885, are on the brink of non-existence having been placed into the hands of the receivers. We have been told by the league that unless a successful bid is made for the club by the end of May we will not be included in next season’s fixtures. FLAG is an independent organisation formed from Luton’s supporters’ groups. Its aim is to form a consortium to buy the club for the community. By doing this we can ensure the future survival of our club and run it for the fans.

If we are not successful Luton will cease to exist as a Football Club; please help us to make sure that this never happens. You can help by making a donation to FLAG, no matter how small it will help! You can do this by…

Going to any NatWest branch and quoting;

sort code 60-13-12 a/c no 78503299

Or by post, cheques payable to FLAG, send to;

FLAG c/o The Luton News,
Herald House, 60 Church Street,
Luton, Beds

And if you do make a donation then please let us know which club you support. Everyone giving fifty pounds or more (even David Mellor) will appear on a roll of honour to be displayed publicly in Luton. A meeting with the official receiver has indicated that FLAG is the best hope for Luton.

Thanks for listening, we all care about our clubs so please help us save ours. Once again I am sorry for this intrusion on your list but I hope that you understand this is for the best of reasons.

If you have any queries or have any other means of helping us please e-mail me at

Simon, on behalf of FLAG


Just a quick note to let everyone know of the horror foisted upon me by my 7-year-old son. On a school outing to the nearby (“World famous San Diego”) Zoo , I volunteered to help out and ride herd on a few of the boys, among the bunch I was to supervise were two boys just over from England and lo and behold they were decked out in their bright new Preston North End jerseys. What do you think my son, blood of my blood, fruit of my loin, should say to me? “Daddy, can I get one of those too!”

I think boarding school would do the boy a bit of good.

RWABT (Red, White and BLUE too), Lonn Paul – San Diego CA (


Well, now in exile, it is wonderful to listen to City live every game on the web. Saturday mornings up with the coffee, grits, eggs and red-eye gravy as the boy Blues raise my pressure o’blood to them thar heights witnessed by friends, and associates, in Kippax and North Stand days gone by: including some Rags who got me in the face with a couple of coins in the Kippax when they, er, assumed the position [5-1] a little time back.

Of course, skipping work because City are playing a midweek night game is somehow transformed into an allergy attack when the boss whistles. Luckily, playing the Blues as the Confederates and characterizing the Rags as carpet-bagging bluebelly Yankees has at least resulted in a degree of understanding. Indeed, polite questions abound on Monday morning now, “so, how you all do on Saturday?” How kind. Of course, one trusts that the relative ends of the Confederacy and City will be quite distinct. On the other hand, the South has tranformed itself in recent years into something of an economic powerhouse… so much so that one hopes City can also “rise again.” Thank you all so much for you pithy, wry reporting and commentary… it’s almost like being at home.

Jack Buckley – Raleigh, North Carolina <Jack10000days(at)>


To all City fans – Our best wishes are with you for the run up to the end of the season. I, for one, would like to see you make it as the remaining automatic promotion spot.

As a long suffering Fulham fan of 29 years, FFC know what you are going through. For us, not going up last season was a blessing in disguise. It gave us a chance to regroup, build a bigger and better squad for the current campaign and build up a bigger regular fan base during a sustained successful period of play. We do not profess to have the support of the larger clubs such as yourselves and our numbers have dwindled over the years of mis-mananagement and underhanded dealings by our directors. We have missed out on two generations of youth supporters. We still only attract crowds of around 12,000 which is poor, but it will grow next year with an improvement in the quality of opposition. To be frank, most of our football this year has not been exciting and we have worn teams down rather than overwhelm them with quality play. It has not been pretty to watch.

I congratulate you on your recent form and achievements. The higher divisions, and indeed the Premiership needs clubs like yours and I was impressed with Maine Road and the passion of your supporters in your comprehensive defeat of us in January. I hope that we can do you a favour when we play Walsall and take three points off them. Were they to drop two more points, your destiny would be in your own hands.

Interestingly, only just over 1,000 Milwall thugs made the trip to CC after 48,000 went to Wembley. Where were they all? Anyway, they left seeing their team of boys play against men. P**s off to bad rubbish. See you in Division 1 next year.

Andrew Corden (


Just a question for Noel Bayley, I would like to understand why he feels it’s natural to hate Manchester United? I can understand begrudging the successes of the club over the years while City have struggled somewhat, and I can also understand a dislike of the section of ManU support who will be off and away as soon as Arsenal or Chelsea (or maybe even City) take over the mantle. I really do believe it’s wrong to hate anything you don’t really understand and Noel clearly misses several points in his many and regular diatribes against the Reds. However I respect his right to have his say, if not his powers of prophecy. On one point however I wholly concur, he is bitter, and that is an understatement of some proportions!

In response to David Buxton, the use of Munich specific taunts has been going on for many, many years. However, I take to heart that it is usually a sickly tiny minority of people who generally deserve to be pitied rather than scorned and who would probably fit into Glenn Hoddle’s category of being back on this earth as a punishment for past ill-doings!

All the best for the remainder of the season. I am really hoping for promotion because City and the brilliant fan support deserve it, and also because I said at the start of the season that they would go up! Needless to say I am also up for United winning everything they’re in for this season, but even if they win nothing I’ll be well satisfied because I’ve seen some of the best football I’ve seen in many years, and I believe that Ferguson and the players are giving everything they’ve got and who can ask for more? Success is transitory and only a record in a reference book for future generations to take note of. However, to participate in the ups and downs of your team and stick with them through thick and thin, that in the long term is what it’s all about.

Leo Fewtrell – The Wythenshawe Exile (


Thanks to all those who got in touch after my plea in Issue 494. I am enormously reassured to learn that the ones singing objectionable chants about Munich are a very small minority – I had obviously got the wrong impression from the match report. As several of you wrote – a following of 30,000 is bound to contain some undesirables.

It was also pointed out to me that many of those doing the chanting weren’t even born when the plane crashed, which makes those 1958 events seem very distant. I admit this hadn’t really occurred to me. I was in Germany when it happened and it’s still very clear in my mind. My own dislike of United has suffered a little over the past week. Sitting back with a smug smile when Juventus went two up was rather spoiled by the end of the evening. The only bright spot was the booking of Keane – I’m constantly amazed when this player manages to last ninety minutes – he’s a sort of Pollock on wheels. By the end of the evening I’d convinced myself that the Walsall result meant more to me than anything United did. On Saturday, however, even the Walsall result was overshadowed by what happened at Maine Road. Until MCIVTA arrives I’ll not know what went wrong, as the press in the north of Scotland tend to ignore City and a match report is very rare indeed. It did bring home to me the unpalatable fact that things have changed enormously since our glory days. There’s quite a difference between winning away to Juventus and losing at home to Wycombe!

David Buxton (


Re – request for match reports

I am an inadequate when it comes to match reports as I receive matches from either Planetfootball or Sky. My view is you have to smell it to report it. But I do believe the lack of match reports is a City thing. We all berate them for doing badly but are scared to mutter when things start going in the right direction. “Don’t break the spell”. There you go, I now think if City don’t go up it will be because I wrote this. Please don’t torch my house.

Although I obviously don’t want the Rags to win in Europe, there may be an omen. It seems from recall (I haven’t checked the facts) that every time we have done something the Rags have upstaged us the same year. Well I would consider promotion this year to be a major milestone, and if the Gods decree for us to have any success they have to do something better, then I will accept them winning part of the treble. They won nothing last year and we went down (the headlines were all ours!). At the end of the day what’s more important? City get back in a position to at least compete or we go around saying “We may be second division but at least United won nothing”.

I agree with David Buxton. Hating United is one thing (and I do with an absolute passion). Singing about Munich? It isn’t big and it isn’t clever. To me “5-1 we beat United 5-1” still sounds better than “5-1 we beat the Munichs 5-1”. Do we sing about the glory of Frank Swift dying with them?

Dave Kilroy (


My first contribution to McVittee for ages and I’m sorry but it’s critical.

The article about United and the Champions’ League was plain boring. It resorts to specious argument (e.g. hollow victory if the most successful team in England in the 90s beat Bayern; Barcelona team full of internationals were depleted) and pathetic ridicule: anyone who actually watched the Juve game will have seen a great performance by the likes of Keane, Yorke, Stam and Schmeichel (OK, Cole missed chances as ever and Gary Neville is crap – plus ca change and all that). Anyone who saw the 1968 European champions (I did) will know they were a great team. Anyone who knows anything about football will know that the English game was much the poorer for the loss of Duncan Edwards and his mates.

Maybe the fanatical Rag-haters are the ones who lay into the likes of Edghill before they’ve even kicked a ball, drove Kit Symons from City (he’s doing really badly now, isn’t he?) and made Corrigan’s life a misery before he proved them all wrong. Maybe they’ll slope off eventually and let the rest of us enjoy supporting City.

Maybe it’s different if you live in Manchester and have to read the MUEN, but it’s been a great week for me – Walsall lost at Preston on Tuesday, decent and free game of football on ITV on Wednesday, Cheltenham beat Yeovil to join the Football League on Thursday (support your local team and all that). Wycombe at home on Saturday and the chance to extend our best run in ages. Yet people are still obsessed with the Rags.

Thank God for people like David Buxton whose article in the same McVittee made me realise that it’s not all like that.

Martyn Hansen (


Well like most Blues I am coming to terms with our ignoble loss in the weekend and the (virtual) destruction of our automatic promotion chances. I hope it wasn’t down to me as, feeling particularly positive about our chances prior to the Wycombe match, I went out and bought the “Soccer legends: Lee, Bell & Summerbee” video. And a great video it is too. However, hearing that we had been beaten by Wycombe Wanderers at Maine Road made it all the harder to watch Lee, Bell and Summerbee destroy Arsenal, Spurs and the Rags, picking up silverware as they went along.

Anyway, on a more upbeat note I just wanted to say that it is crucial that we win our last two league games and go into the play-offs in good spirits. Make no mistake the play-off games will be incredibly tough and City will need to put together a couple of superb performances to go up. I, for one, believe it is crucial that we go up this year and I have a feeling that the next 5 games will be a defining moment in recent Blues’ history. See you all at Wembley!

Finally, a big hello to the three Blues I saw running the London Marathon last week. I was running in a charity’s T-Shirt so, unfortunately, the only City colours displayed was my City Cap! Anyway, for the record my time was 4 hours 46 minutes; any other Blues get around quicker (I’m sure you did!)?

CTID, Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


In reply to David Buxton’s article in MCIVTA 494

I too hate the references to Munich. I think it is as disgusting as lambasting Liverpool fans in reference to Hillsborough. The amount of time that has passed since the disaster may well have dulled the memories, and the sorrow felt by current United fans may be dulled by the fact that they weren’t around at the time, but in my opinion, it doesn’t take anything away from the sick, evil intent of the insult.

To be honest with you, the sheer level of hatred of Rags displayed by City fans sometimes annoys me. I am intensely jealous of the Rags, and I hate the attitude that is often displayed towards me by them, but that’s where it stops – I admit that their team is the best in England – anyone that doesn’t is just showing that they know nothing about football – and that they’re arguably one of the best clubs in the the world on the pitch. I enjoy watching them play well – but I’ll certainly give Rags a load of gip if they don’t play well, mainly because they wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to me. I don’t give a toss whether they win the EC, apart from the amount of flak that I’ll take for it. It’s true that I’ve never forgiven some of them for the treatment that I got having to go into school the day after the 5-0, but the ones that I don’t talk to because of that, I don’t talk to because I though that they were ar*eholes, not because they were United fans…

At the end of the day, would being a Blue really be that rewarding if the Rags didn’t exist? And would it mean the same thing if they weren’t one of the mnost successful teams the country has seen? You may have a different view, but I don’t think it would. I love City because of the cameraderie of the fans and the resilient ability that all of us have to bounce back even in the worst possible circumstances. I think Nick Hornby’s book doesn’t say the half of it – for Christ’s sake, the man was an Arsenal fan whose life took a dive because of his team’s drop in form… would that we could have a drop in form of those proportions. Being a real fan is a measure of how far your support will go – but just as you can only beat the opposition that gets put against you, you can only survive times that are as bad as they are.

On a similar note, I’ve got to take issue with Alison Prior – it’s my recent non-attendance that’s led to our rise in form… I must admit that following the above expressed opinion, I am ashamed to admit that I’m trying to sort out going to the Wycombe game, partly because there’s no way I’m going to miss a play-off semi at Maine Road… I guess I’m a glory-hunting Blue, if such a thing can be said to exist…

P.S. I must admit to finding the Rags chanting on Wednesday amusing – comparisons between ourselves and Juventus are always welcome, and the phrase ‘Bitter Blue’ will have a slightly hollow ring in the coming days – I reckon that Rags being bitter even when they’re in the EC final takes the whole bitterness concept a whole stage further.

Jon Marshall (


In the most recent MCIVTA mailing list, Noel Bayley (Editor of BTH – never fails to get an advert in, does he?) wrote: EUROPEAN CHUMPS’ CUP by Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet – So the Rags are in the European Champions’ Cup Final. So what? Who cares?

Well, plainly, Noel Bayley cares enough to have bothered to write an article about it. The words ‘foot’, ‘in’, ‘shot’, ‘the’ and ‘himself’ appear to be appropriate.

P.S. Never mind Noel, Manchester United might just lose one, two or all three of the trophies and wouldn’t that make you feel better?

Peter Hargreaves (


You bought the ticket. You made the travel arrangements. Suddenly, you found you couldn’t make it. What to do? Well, let me help you by finding a home (in my pocket) for your ticket to the game! I’m based in Bristol and having no luck so far in squeezing a ticket out of the locals, and would love to be there. Mail me, or call me on:

0117 955 1393 (Home)
950 9003 (Work)

and I’ll remember you in my will :-)))

Jeremy Poynton (


Can anyone help? I am university in London and I am looking for a lift to the Bristol game. If anyone can help me please can they E-Mail me at the address below:

Claire Allison (


Are there any City fans in the Leicester/Nottingham/Derby area that would be interested in starting an Official Supporters’ Club in the East Midlands area? Benefits would include cheaper travel and hopefully a better chance of getting tickets for those pokey little grounds that we are forced to visit throughout the season.

No more details than that at this stage. We’re just finding out if there’s sufficient interest to see if it’s worth taking any further.

Stuart Kelly (


Please could tell me the exact script for non-season ticket holders wishing to purchase tickets for all 3 of our potential play-off games? This includes schneiding into the Bournemouth or Gillingham home ends for the away leg.

Paul Barber (


I’m going over to Chicago on May 1st and I’m planning to attend Chicago Fire’s match against DC United that very evening and I’m wondering if there are any Chicago Blues out there who would like to meet up with me for the match. Maybe you’ll be able to tell me about City’s win against Bristol Rovers which will be played when I’m up in the air. I’ve never been there so even if you can’t meet up with me I would appreciate some info about how to get to the stadium, buy tickets etc. Please contact me on the e-mail address below. Thanks!

CTIDIAACAFOIHTTWAWL (City ‘Til I Die In An Air Crash And Find Out In Heaven That They Won And Walsall Lost), Patrik Scheele (


I was wondering if anyone knows of somewhere in or near to Oxford where I could see the Bristol Rovers PPV game. I’m on and I would be extremely grateful if someone could help me out.


Mark Braude (


Last week, I applied for a replacement passport and inadvertently(?) included photos of me in my City top – so that’s me pledged for the next ten years then!

Any other Blues in Hong Kong?

John Riley (


For the sometimes pleasurable, but often frustrating experience that is being a Manchester City fan, I can thank my uncle Barry.

Back in 1969 I was an impressionable 9 year old, born and bred in Somerset, not a care in the world, hadn’t decided on which football team I liked best and settling down to watch the FA Cup Final with my dad and uncle Barry. Who should I support? Dad, being a lifelong Arsenal supporter couldn’t (in his own words) “give a stuff” and was watching as a neutral. Uncle Barry, married into my mum’s side of the family from Blackburn, told me to support Manchester City as they were the Northern team. So I did.

And it came to pass (Summerbee to Young… Goal!) that I became a Blue, having been dazzled by the sheer magic of this team.

Not that I hadn’t had other influences trying to sway me in non-Blue directions before then. Dad had made his case for the Gunners, and even in 1969, it was a persuasive argument. But I wanted to; no had to; rebel. My brother and I would eventually refer to them as “Fart-Smell”, much to my dad’s annoyance.

What about supporting my local team? The nearest to me, as the crow flies, was Bristol City, but there was nobody I knew who watched them, apart from the local psychopaths. Not much further away was Bristol Rovers, but they didn’t seem to offer much in the way of glamour or excitement. However, some time after declaring my allegiance to MCFC I adopted the “Gas” as my “local” team. This was because they seemed to me to mirror City in a lot of respects. Why? Well consider their relationship with the other club in town; Bristol City are “bigger and better”, they play in red, and I think (with a few honourable exceptions) most of their fans are certifiable arrogant t*ssers.

What about the Rags? Even in the late 60’s they were dragging little boys into their twisted and sordid lifestyle. This time it was my cousin who saved me from that fate worst than death. Not because he was a Blue who could show me the error of my ways you understand, but because he was a fledgling Rag, and in his bedroom he and his brother had all the wallpaper, lampshades, bedspreads, posters, the lot. I just knew instinctively it was all wrong, and that whatever I did, I should never give in to the dark side.

So when my uncle Barry and Neil Young pointed the way, I was ready. And it was oh so easy to support City in those days, lots of my friends at school did. But no one I knew in deepest darkest Zommerzet had actually been to Maine Road, except me, thanks once again to uncle Barry. The first time I went there was to see City play Stoke (I think) during one of the regular family holidays to Blackburn. We drove down to Manchester in uncle Barry’s Rover 2000; his pride and joy; and parked in one of the side streets around Maine Road (and it was still there with all 4 wheels attached when we got back!). My overriding memory was the sheer size of the ground, and the number of people crammed in (please bear in mind my only other experience of a football ground before then was from watching Blackburn Rovers at the old Ewood Park).

I marvel at other MCIVTA correspondents who have the ability to remember previous matches they have attended in such detail. For me it is just a swirl of snatched images and memories, but this may be due to the thermos filled with coffee and scotch that uncle Barry and my dad would let me sip from at half time! So I will zoom forward to today; and I’m now a family man with two daughters. Like me when I was young, they want to rebel against their dad and steadfastly refuse to support Man City. I did have a nasty moment when my eldest came back from school and declared her undying love for spice boy, but playing on her girlie love of furry creatures, I managed to change her allegiance to Wolverhampton Wanderers (OK, wolves are not cuddly, but they are furry). My youngest is horse mad, so logically supports Ipswich (because of their badge). At least they haven’t come up with any rude names for City yet.

I’m very hopeful we can get promotion this season, especially now we seem to have signed Terry Cooke, but this will probably have to be through the nail-biting play-offs. But whatever happens now, and in the future, I’ll always be proud to call myself a Man City supporter, because I’m a Blue and that’s just the way it is.

CTID, Richard Jenkins (


Some time ago I submitted my “Why Blue” and talked about going to Maine Road with my father and standing on the corner of where the North Stand now is. Sadly my dad died last Saturday evening (17/04) and on Sunday, nursing a hangover, I returned to Manchester to arrange his funeral. On Thursday I went to Maine Road and bought tickets for the Wycombe game for my daughter, Jemma, and I. Because Wycombe didn’t sell their tickets I was able to get into Block S of the North Stand – as close as possible to where I went as a child.

After the funeral on Friday I drove the whole family (mum, three sisters and my brother) down Claremont Road where dad grew up and past Maine Road on the way back to mum’s for tea and sympathy – mum thought that was a great tribute. And on Saturday I watched the game with tears in my eyes. We can’t make the York game but if it all goes right Jemma will be at Wembley and at the age of 8, I guess her own “Why Blue” is written. Please – no condolences. That isn’t why I wrote this. I think it’s probably just to get a head start for when Jemma writes her “Why Blue”. It’s also to recognise a Blue who has gone, my dad – Frank Gibson.

Nigel Gibson (


Good thing they don’t make us play Scarborough…

Second Division Results, Saturday, April 24 1999

Blackpool                 1-2  Bristol Rovers         5,033
Ormerod (47)                   Cureton (61, pen 72)
Bournemouth               0-0  Chesterfield           6,890
Fulham                    1-1  Wrexham               11,754
Peschisolido (44)              Connolly (pen 18)
Lincoln City              0-1  Walsall                4,588
                               Wrack (72)
Macclesfield Town         1-2  York City              3,077
Tomlinson (77)                 Rowe (4)
                               Tinkler (45)
Manchester City           1-2  Wycombe Wanderers     29,337
Goater (45)                    Baird (15)
                               Devine (30)
Millwall                  2-2  Preston North End      6,016
Cahill (85)                    Darby (46)
Ifill (90)                     Jackson (61)
Northampton Town          3-3  Colchester United      6,146
Savage (18)                    Buckle (3)
Corazzin (pen 41)              Aspinall (pen 47)
Howey (63)                     Duguid (71)
Notts County              1-2  Luton Town             5,583
Redmile (56)                   Thorpe (32, 66)
Oldham Athletic           1-4  Gillingham             5,331
Beavers (32)                   Asaba (4)
                               Smith (9)
                               Galloway (27)
                               Taylor (78)
Stoke City                1-4  Burnley               12,965
Crowe (31)                     Pickering (5)
                               Payton (11)
                               Little (68, 90)
Wigan Athletic            4-1  Reading                3,885
Rogers (6)                     McLaren (67)
Barlow (15, 24)
Greenall (69)

Second Division Table, up to and including Saturday, April 24 1999 (5:05pm)

                              HOME            AWAY
                         P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Fulham                  43 18  3  1 47 12  12  4  5 27 17    97   74
Walsall                 43 12  6  3 32 20  13  2  7 26 22    83   58
Preston North End       44 12  5  5 45 22  10  7  5 32 24    78   77
MANCHESTER CITY         44 12  6  4 34 14   9  9  4 29 17    78   63
Gillingham              44 14  5  3 41 17   6  9  7 29 27    74   70
Bournemouth             43 14  6  2 37 11   6  6  9 24 28    72   61
Wigan Athletic          40 12  4  4 38 15   7  4  9 25 26    65   63
Stoke City              42  9  4  9 30 32  10  2  8 25 25    63   55
Chesterfield            43 14  4  4 34 16   3  8 10 11 24    63   45
Millwall                43  9  8  5 33 23   8  3 10 19 30    62   52
Reading                 44  9  6  7 27 26   6  7  9 25 35    58   52
Luton Town              43  9  4  8 23 24   5  6 11 25 34    52   48
Wrexham                 43  8  6  8 21 26   5  7  9 22 33    52   43
Blackpool               43  6  8  8 22 23   7  5  9 18 27    52   40
Burnley                 43  7  7  8 22 33   5  7  9 29 38    50   51
Bristol Rovers          43  7  8  6 30 26   4  8 10 26 25    49   56
Notts County            42  7  5  8 27 25   6  5 11 22 33    49   49
Colchester United       43  8  7  6 22 26   3  9 10 26 38    49   48
York City               43  5  8  8 27 32   7  3 12 28 43    47   55
Oldham Athletic         43  6  4 11 23 31   6  5 11 21 32    45   44
Northampton Town        43  4 10  7 21 26   6  5 11 17 26    45   38
Wycombe Wanderers       42  7  4 10 27 23   4  7 10 20 31    44   47
Lincoln City            42  8  4  9 26 26   3  3 15 11 43    40   37
Macclesfield Town       42  7  4 10 20 24   3  5 13 16 31    39   36

Dorien James (
With thanks to Soccernet


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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 #495