Newsletter #916

Many thanks to Peter for ensuring that MCIVTA 915 was produced, and personal thanks to the Dublin Blues for their hospitality on Friday evening – great to meet many of them at last.

The main news today is the appointment of John Wardle as Chairman (unanimous according to his quotes in the newspaper today; I am sure some of our correspondents have something to say on that score), with Bryan Bodek as Vice Chairman and Alistair Mackintosh taking control of day-to-day affairs as MD.

We also have opinion, some more last game views and a couple of requests, including latest information on the Denmark pre-season games.

Next game: to be confirmed


Wardle for Chairman?

In the last issue of MCIVTA, Cathal Whelehan invited comments as to whether Mr Wardle should become MCFC’s permanent chairman. Knowing next to nothing about boardroom matters, I can’t really comment, but I did notice what might be one piece of “spin” that the club is putting on this affair – at the end of the Southampton match when the presentations were made to Goater and Schmeichel, the tannoy announcement of their contributions to City’s revived fortunes had Wardle’s name in there too. I must have missed the goals he scored and the shots he saved, but someone at MCFC seems intent on making Mr Wardle conspicuous.

I hope he was at least embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as the Goat and the Great Dane. True, after the play-off victory over Gillingham David Bernstein got himself onto the Wembley pitch to celebrate with the players, but that was just a case of letting his enthusiasm get the better of him, and he was humble enough to admit so afterwards; by comparison the plug given to Wardle seemed altogether more calculated.

Is “bring back Bernstein” really a lost cause? [Seems it after today’s announcements – Ed]

Ken Corfield (


Cathal Whelehan’s critique of John Wardle struck me as far too harsh. I have a great deal of respect for Howard Davies but do not know enough about either of these guys, or any other potential targets for the Chairman’s post to decide who should get the job. I don’t believe it is helpful to the debate to pigeon hole Wardle as “just an old fashioned entrepreneur”. How would CW encapsulate Davies in those terms? From recent personal contact with the man however, I would strongly urge Cathal to give Mr Wardle the benefit of the doubt.

Peter Birbeck (


Just a wee story about Sunday. My very first visit to Maine Road was in March 1979 (we beat Bolton 2-1). I was 10 years old and a member of the 47th East Belfast Cub Scouts. We had been taken by our two City-supporting troop leaders on a weekend trip, watching the game, playing footy against local teams, getting shown around the ground and every single one of us (about 20-odd as I recall) being made members of the Junior Blues, whether we liked it or not (no wonder they had so many members).

Anyway, as part of our ground tour, we got to meet Joe Corrigan and Tommy Booth. I was well chuffed to shake their hands. Back home in Belfast, I removed all the Liverpool rubbish on the wall (we all supported either them or the Rags) and requested a sky blue wall. I became a City fan. None of the other cubs bothered, mind you. But that visit really made a lasting impression.

So on to Sunday, over 24 years later, and there’s Tommy Booth in the executive boxes at the back of the Kippax Lower. I climbed up and shook his hand and told him the story. For me that was the perfect way to bring closure to Maine Road for me.

Neal Beatty (


I thought that there would have been more comment about this, but in my view the much promised after match ‘party’ was pathetic. The first two bands were the sort that you can see in loads of pubs of an evening whilst you couldn’t hear ‘Badly Drawn Boy’ or ‘Doves’ anyway. Is this the best City can do for such a supposed ‘historic’ event?

The whole thing looked like it had been thrown together at the last minute. If John Wardle and Jimmy Wagg think it was so fantastic then they need to get out more!

Alastair Watt (


Went to the Academy Final at Maine Road on May 16th. The place is definitely cursed, because the team have set a record this season of winning all but 2 matches, which were drawn, yet lost 0-1 in extra time to Leeds United’s only proper chance. Young Kasper Schmeichel was so upset at the final whistle that he removed his shirt, and stormed towards the tunnel, only to be prevented from doing so be one of his coaches.

This completed the week’s hat-trick of anti-climax and failure following a 0-2 capitulation the night before at Boundary Park against Oldham in the Manchester Senior Cup Final.

Let’s hope the move to City of Manchester Stadium / Eastlands / Comstad (delete as applicable) changes the psyche of everybody involved with the club, and we adopt an positive attitude that sees us battle from the first to last whistle, pummelling teams into defeat (more medication nurse).

Other than the Junior Blues in the top of the Kippax, only the Main Stand was open on the night, and as usual City missed a trick by not opening any refreshment bars. I am so annoyed that I’ve decided never to go back to the place again (perhaps)!

Steve Kay (


I thought fellow City fans might like to know that several Southampton fans were arrested for trying to sell their tickets at last week’s game.

One well-heeled looking chap was also arrested and found to have a pocket full of tickets for the Southampton section. On closer inspection and after consultation with MCFC, the police realised that these tickets had been issued to two Southampton players.

Several Southampton fans were also detained for stealing their seats from the Gene Kelly Stand. Incidentally, this stand doesn’t even belong to City – it was on hire – as is/was the one in the other corner.

Sarah Ferguson (


The scorer of the last goal at Maine Road could have been a Blue if Arthur Cox had taken my advice.

On July 21st 2001 I wrote to him as follows:

“the Swedish side, Halmstad, are due to play Bohemians in Dublin on July 25th in a Champions’ League qualifier and there should be an opportunity for you (or your representative) to have a look at their defender, Mikael Svensson… I understand that the French club, Troyes, are very interested in Svensson.”

Five weeks later I wrote again:

“I don’t know whether you received my earlier e-mail about Mikael Svensson of Halmstad, as I have had no acknowledgement (is it club policy not to respond to e-mail?), but I am sorry to say that I am advised that he has now joined Troyes. A pity, as he’s pushing Patrik Andersson and Olof Mellberg hard for a place in the Swedish national side and would have been a good acquisition. Don’t be surprised if he turns up in the Premiership in a couple of years time.”

Svensson was picked up very cheaply by Troyes and within a year he had joined his namesake Anders at Southampton where he has had an outstanding season and he is now an established international. He let me down in the Cup Final, though, as I backed him at 33-1 to score first.

Steve Willis (


I’ve been a little quiet of late. It’s been a busy season what with getting the editor’s job and getting up and running, so no monologue for Maine Road as yet, tho I’m sure there’s one lurking in my subconscious.

Interesting and thought-provoking rant by Daniel Stone, the comparison between Fowler and Rodney is one I’d not thought of. I’d just like to take him up on a couple of points – the season in question (’71-72) the Rags didn’t win the Championship, Derby did, by a single point. We finished 4th, equal on points with ‘Pool and, I think, Leeds. We blew it of course, typical City, 6 points up with 6 games to play under the old 2 points for a win system.

I saw the Southampton game that started the rot. Rodney looked fat and very unfit, though he showed some skill. Part of the blame for the defeat must be laid at Summerbee’s door. He got wound up a treat by the Soton full back, Dennis Hollywood, lost it and had to be taken off in case he got sent off. (If Rod=Fowl, does Buzzer = Tiatto?).

And Rodney didn’t replace Wyn “The Leap” Davies. In his début match he replaced Tony Towers but for most of the time the player who had his nose put out by Rodney’s arrival was Ian “Spider” Mellor (father of the kid who played for the Mickeys at Maine Road) who was playing well on the left. Lastly, I don’t believe our decline started with Marsh’s arrival. Nor should anyone else. Here’s the evidence.

We reached the League Cup Final the next year – with a stunning forward line of Summerbee, Bell, Lee, Law, Marsh – and blew it (or should it be “blue it”?), chiefly because cunning old Derek Dougan lost Tommy Booth, twice.

We won in ’76, finished 8th in the League after a tail off towards the end of the season. We missed the title in ’77 by a single point. The 77-78 team had five England players in it – Corrigan, Watson, Tueart, Doyle, Royle – not a bad backbone, plus Colin Bell, back after injury… oh, and Asa Hartford (Scotland). And we bought another England player, Mick Channon. Not much sign of decline so far. Crowds of 40k, regular stuffings of the Rags, the Council even put up a direction sign on Princess Parkway! We finished 4th in ’78. Now for 1978-79. I was in the San Siro with City 2-0 up with half an hour to go, no English side had ever won there. We hammered them at Maine Road in the return to reach the Quarter Finals of the EUFA Cup. As high a point as any in our history, in real terms.

Then… League form plummeted, 5 points from 12 games if memory serves me right. We dropped from 4th to 15th. What happens next? Swales loses his nerve, fires Tony Book, brings back Malcolm Allison and, most importantly our ace coach Bill Taylor resigns. Mark the date: 10th January 1979. Decline starts here. Gary Owen (England U21 and devout Blue as we all know) sold for 45,000. Steve Daley bought for