Newsletter #4

There are now 27 of us which includes 4 silent types (not known if they are also strong)! I have mailed Thomas Esamie my address so it will now go out regularly to RSS as part of the mailing list info. Anthony Johnson and Martin Ford have almost finished the FAQ so hopefully that will appear shortly and put an end to a rather embarassing situation. There’s also a chance for overseas readers (are we readers or recipients or masochists or what, ideas please?) to contribute something, see Martin Ford’s article on why he chose the high road.

Apologies in advance for the match report which is an extremely one-sided affair and unfortunately the wrong side from our point of view; I ‘borrowed’ it from the Owls WWW home page (I’ll put it back, honest!). We are struggling for reports at the moment so if you can spare the time then please do; perhaps I unconciously gave the impression that I was having to juggle hoards of wannabe journalists! Not so! Probably a few of you who would have written didn’t because you felt someone else would anyway have written something from the same newspaper. If I get reports I will put them in Friday’s MCIVTA, a good proportion of readers (overseas) won’t get to see any type of report other than what’s here so lateness isn’t a major issue.




Wednesday 1 (0) Manchester City 1 (1)
Attendance : about 20,000
Referee: K Gallagher

Pressman; Petrescu, Atherton, Pearce, Nolan; Bart-Williams, Hyde, Sheridan, Sinton (Ingesson 46); Hirst, Bright (Watson ~70); unused sub: Key

Coton; Edghill, Hill, Vonk, ?; Summerbee, McMahon, Brightwell, Beagrie; Walsh, Rösler;

No Des Walker again as Wednesday tried to put behind them the defensive frailties of the City Ground the previous week. This time Atherton was partnering Pearce in central defence with Petrescu switching to right back and Bart-Williams coming in in the right side of midfield. Hyde partnered Sheridan in midfield leaving Ingesson on the bench, and Bright returned to partner Hirst up front. John Sherdian managed to lose the toss and the teams switched ends before kick off.

Wednesday kicked off with Hyde and Hirst in the centre cicle, and Bright out by the left touchline. He made a run forward on kick off, but the ball wasn’t played to him. Something from the training ground which didn’t come off ?? Anyway, Wednesday started brightly and, apart from a City shot which went wide of the far post, dominated the opening fifteen minutes.

Coton had to tip a chip shot over the bar, parry a shot from Sinton when the ball came over and he was unmarked on the left side of the box and looked a good bet for scoring, and tip a Hyde cross come shot away from the far top corner of the goal. Rösler had already been booked for a challenge from behind on Hyde, and then spent the next minute looking at the bench and making getures about his innocence. Sheridan tried to take a quick free kick but the ref called them back. He then tried to play it over the top to Bright but the defence got in the way.

Some good attacking football came in the first half, but always something went wrong before the final shot, and most of the time it was Mark Bright. His close control and passing against City were poor, and that is being generous ! In one attack the ball went out wide to the right, Brighty got it, back to the defender, with Hirst and Sheridan running into the box. Sheridan told Bright where he wanted the ball, pointing to the spot as well, a point 6 yards to the side of Bright and back a bit. He proceeded to pass the ball almost straight to the goalkeeper.

Still Wednesday fail to make the corners they win count. From half a dozen or so corners in the first half there wasn’t one real chance that arose. The main ploy was to play the ball to Pearce at the near post for a flick on, but he was well marked and when he did get the flick it wasn’t to a dangerous position in the box.

City had a chance of going one up midway through the half when a poor backpass let Summerbee in on the right. Pressman had to race out of his box and win the ball in a tackle, only for the ball to roll towards another City player, so Kev won the ball again and played it to Nolan. As Pressman raced back to the goal Nolan momentarily lost the ball, not what was wanted with you keeper on the 18 yard line, but he won it back again.

The best chance of the half, and probably the match, fell to David Hirst. A ball over the top found him behind the defence, in the box, with only Coton to beat. He brought the ball down and shot hard and straight. To be fair to Coton he spread himself well and managed to hold onto the ball. I couldn’t help thinking at the time though that the Hirst would have buried it a couple of years ago, whoever was in goal. Still, it’s early days yet and after so long away from the game you can’t expect too much too soon.

The referee had booked Hyde and Hirst for challenges from behind this half, but failed to book Edghill, the City right back who clattered into Sinton from behind more than once, resulting in damaged ankle ligaments for Sinton who tried to continue but had to come off at half time. This was no great loss, as apart from his shot on goal he didn’t do a great deal and never looked like beating his man. Nolan overlapped well on a couple of occasions but Sinton never managed to play the right ball to him. Being out injured may be a blessing in disguise for the team. Nevertheless, Edghill should have been in the book, and was to continue his tackling antics in the second half.

The real drama of the first half came with nearly 45 minutes on the watch though. The ball was played into the City box, and Hirst and Hill went up for the ball together. Hill also had his arm raised as he went up and instead of heading it back to the keeper, he knocked it back with his hand! Somehow both referee and linesman managed to miss this blatant hand ball in the box and waived play on. Worse was to come. From the next attack City won a corner, Pearce was beaten by Hill at the far post, and his knockdown was blasted into the net by Paul Walsh ! Right on half time, after having dominated the first half. The referee wasn’t a popular man at all.

City’s main attack in the first half had come down their right where they obviously thought there was a weakness (maybe Nolan’s poor left foot), however the Wednesday right had looked a little suspect at times and if Bart-man hadn’t been back covering for Petrescu then there would have been trouble. Petrescu is good coming forward but his defending doesn’t inspire confidence all the time. He takes an age to get back from an attack, all too often will try and let the ball run out of play only for the opposition to nip round him and get to the ball still in play. If/when Waddle gets back a more defensive right back will be needed, as Waddle won’t do the covering Bart-man did.

Ingesson warmed up in the pitch during half time and as expected replaced the injured Sinton for the second half. Wednesday continued to attack, but as usual the play broke down around the opposition penalty area. Hirst got the ball and ran into the box, with a clear sight of goal, only to delay and play the ball across the box for someone else to have a shot. In days gone by you wouldn’t have got the ball off Hirst unless you decked him ! not in the box anyhow.

Ingesson looked lively down the left, and had a booming shot go just wide of the post. City were casuing the defence very few problems. Pearce had been solid all game and never looked under pressure or in trouble (save the corner for the City goal when he was outjumped). Atherton, while again being solid, didn’t appear quite as convincing as Pearce. He played well but wasn’t as confident on the ball or look as at ease. Pearce and Walker should be the centre half pairing I reckon.

Petrescu tried to get forward this half, and made a couple of runs from deep in his own half. For the first he got dispossesed on the left side of the box.For the second he slipped in the penalty area and looked to the ref for a penalty (not a chance Dan !).

The ref was failing to penalise Edghill once more as he slid in from behind onto Hirst in what was probably the worst challenge of the afternoon. A free kick but no yellow card.

Watson had his tracksuit off before 60 minutes were on the clock, and it looked like he was going to replace Bright. However, he just stood there for ten minutes, occasionally touching his toes and chatting to the players who were watching. He then picked up his tracksuit top, assuming he wasn’t going on or else dropping a hint, and was on within two minutes, replacing Bright. Bright looked to be heading straight for the tunnel until Ritchie Barker seemed to persuade him to sit on the bench.

Watson made a difference up front and it looked possible that an equalizer might be in the cards. There was movement and the City defence had something to think about. The goal came from the right side of midfield. Bart-man played the ball past Petrescu and into space on the right side for Watson to run onto. he turned his defender and ran twoards goal near the by-line. With Coton trying to cover the pull back across goal, Watson slipped the ball inside the far post. Super sub !

He tried to gee up the players to push for the winner, but it just wasn’t coming. Wednesday had a free kick just outside the box on the right, and City then made a substitution to waste time/break up play. Rösler ambled off to be replaced by Quinn. The free kick came off the wall for a corner. From the corner Ingesson just headed over the bar – he’d easily beaten his marker.

City had one more attack, but at this stage were playing with almost 11 men behind the ball, trying to protect their point. They suceeded in doing this. City had had one shot on target all afternoon!

Sheffield Wednesday WWW Page


Interesting to hear about the Rocastle rumour, here’s two more rumours I’ve heard regarding the sale of Rocastle. Once again you’ll have to make your own mind up.

  1. Lee and Horton requested that Rocastle buy a house and settle in the area, apparently when Rocastle transferred from Arsenal to Leeds Mrs Rocastle & family remained in London. Rocastle’s wife was reluctant to move from London. The club took this unwillingness to settle in the area as a sign that Rocastle lacked long term commitment to the club and Francis Lee was none too happy about it !
  2. The club were seriously concerned about the player’s puzzling lack of fitness and doubted whether he would be able to last the full ninety minutes in the games this season. Apparently his form in training and on the pre-season tour wasn’t too good.

Personally I don’t believe the second rumour but I could see the first rumour having an element of truth in it. Clearly the true circumstances surrounding his transfer to Chelsea have not been made public and I remain unconvinced by Brian Horton’s comments on the transfer (as reported by Michael Maddox quoting from the MEN Pink Final). I feel it was a mistake to sell Rocastle, it was obvious when he first arrived at the club he was a much better player than much of the squad (Groenendijk, Simpson, Ingebrigtsen etc.) and could only improve the standard of the squad – he certainly did the club proud in the few games he played for us (oh and by the way he scored for Chelsea last night in their Cup Winners Cup match against some Czech side).



Ian Brightwell has signed a new contract which will keep him at Maine Road until 1998. The player has already made over 250 appearances for the club.

Building work continues on the Kippax with 2000 more seats available for the Norwich game. Apparently the police have decided that with the increase in capacity visiting supporters will be admitted for the rest of the games this season and members will also be able to buy tickets on match days.

Mark Higgins


Here’s my thoughts about the general state of the recent transfers.

We’ve had a couple of posts about the departure of David Rocastle to Chelsea. One wasn’t impressed (Martin Watts) and the other (Steve Tobias) wasn’t particularly upset to see what he calls a luxury like Rocastle go. I must side with those who thought Rocky was a luxury; granted he did a fantastic job when he first arrived. I remember his first crunching tackle (Soton at home??), which showed his determination to do well and his frustration at languishing in the Leeds reserves. IMHO the turning point for him came with the lamentable Cardiff performances. City as a whole were a shambles but certain players, Rocastle being one of them let the whole team down. After that performance he seemed to steadily get worse, with only flashes of his brilliance. When I heard about the transfer I was shocked that he’s only survived 20-odd games, but to be frank it didn’t surprise me, especially with the arrival of Buzzer junior. Something must be wrong with Rocky though, how else can you explain Graham’s, Wilkinson’s and now Horton’s reactions to an obviously talented player?

Onto another section of the Rocky transfer; both Colin Barlow and Horton himself made some rather ambiguous statements when trying to explain away the transfer. They both made comments hinting that there was more to the transfer, but refused to elaborate, so what really went on?

My main concern is the number of players City have released recently. Rocastle, Groenendijk, Ingebrigsten, Sheron, plus I believe some of the more junior members of the squad like Quigley (I might be wrong here though). City have let 4 experienced players go and how many have been directly replaced, only one with the arrival of Summerbee. (Yes, Walsh, Beagrie and Rösler came in towards the end of the summer but they don’t play in the same sort of rôles and let’s be fair about them they were panic buys, something to give the club extra impetus, which thankfully they have done.)

The worrying feature seems to be that City are again persuing the idea of reducing the number in the squad. I remember a similar thing happening a few seasons ago and City were left scratching around for a team after a spate of injuries and had to rely on the juniors. Hopefully this is only going to be a short term idea and experienced replacements will be found to fill the gaps. City can’t afford another season of mediocrity, they won’t be able to compete with the ‘big clubs’ if they fail.

Martin Ford



The following report appeared in the football magazine FourFourTwo (September issue). The article was a run-down of promising and young players in the English League, and included Bryan Roy, Stefan Schwarz, Robbie Elliott, Peter Ndlovu, Jason McAteer, Bruce Dyer, Darren Eadie, and our own Nicky Summerbee!!!

The Boy’s A Bit Special


Nicky Summerbee shouldn’t really be starting the season at Maine Road. The 22-year old England B international may have one of the most famous surnames in the club’s history but, as a teenager, he shocked his father Mike by announcing he was a Manchester United fan. But Summerbee junior didn’t let his allegiance get in the way of a good career move: he preferred City to Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough and his 1.5m move may yet be one of the shrewdest deals of the close season.

For the City faithful, the sight of the Summerbee name on the teamsheet conjures up emotional images of championship glory and European success. Mike (who once owned a clothes shop with George Best) was City’s most versatile genius in its late 1960s and early 1970s heyday, winning championship and European medals and eight England caps. It was no great surprise when his son became a professional footballer. After joining Swindon as a school boy in 1987, Summerbee The Second made his professional début (aged 18) against Wolves in the old second division. By the end of 1993/94, Summerbee had played over 130 times for the Robins.

Much of the credit for his rise must go to Glenn Hoddle. Before Hoddle’s appointment as Swindon manager, Summerbee was seen as something of a journeyman but Hoddle’s coaching transformed his performances and, ultimately, the fee he could command on the transfer market. His effort and versatility enabled Swindon to play him at right back or as a right-sided midfielder. But City manager Brian Horton plans to use him in an attacking rôle. Assistant manager David Moss cites Summerbee’s crossing ability as his strongest attribute alongside his ‘sheer consistency’. With the long awaited return of the angular Niall Quinn and the sharpness of Mike Sheron and Uwe Rösler, a steady supply of Summerbee crosses could confuse many premier league defences. City desperately needs to cause more chaos in the opposition’s penalty area than it did in the 1993/94 season: without Quinn and lacking a crosser of Summerbee’s potential, the team didn’t even average a goal a game and only managed to score 14 league goals away from Maine Road.

Moss had been keeping an eye on Summerbee for years and first recognised his potential while at Oxford United with Horton. In his frequent scouting trips to Swindon, Moss could not recall ever seeing the youngster have a bad game.

Summerbee has already won three England under-21 level caps in the Toulon tournament. Last season saw another international breakthrough when he gained his first England B cap.

Francis Lee’s triumphant return to Maine Road has restored the club’s belief in itself by harking back to the glory days under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. Summerbee senior is back at City on the commercial side and may take on a permanent rôle. However, Mike had no influence in the arrival of his son. The club is adamant it was ‘purely Brian Horton’s signing’.

After signing for City, Nicky told the Maine Road fans: ‘I don’t want to be known as the second Mike Summerbee but the first Nicky Summerbee.’ Nicholas The First is one of the most promising wide players in English football. The hope is that he can succeed where, last season, David White and Rick Holden failed.

Bill James

FourFourTwo, September 1994

Photo Caption: The Maine chance: Will the arrival of Summerbee the Second lead Manchester’s second team back to glory?

(Personal Note: I don’t know what he meant by -second- team in Manchester? I thought Manchester United was based out in Trafford, somewhere in Lancashire I think!!!)

Matt Dye 🙂



City today (Friday 16th) agreed to sell midfielder Fitzroy Simpson to Bristol City. Although the fee has not been disclosed,it is believed the Blues will recoup most of their 500,000 pounds outlay when Simpson arrived from Swindon in 1992. The move will not become permanent until Simpson has completed a months loan period. “Sometimes you have to take a step backwards before you can go forwards again” Simpson was quoted as saying to the Manchester Evening News.

Horton is still keeping everyone guessing on his forward line up against Sheffield Wednesday – not even Quinn or Rösler will know who is playing until an hour before the match. “Being in the dark will keep everybody in the right frame of mind ” Horton was quoted. “We have lost our first two away games three-nil so we will change our system for tomorrow’s match to make us a little bit more waterproof without abandoning our attacking instincts”

Rob Clarke


In the mail I sent last time, Feyenoord not Ajax played City in a pre-season game at Maine Road. The score was 2-4 for those interested (slip of the brain… etc.:)

Anthony Johnson


As I noticed in one of the previous messages the group is now up to 25 members I thought it might be a good idea to give your reasons for being a blue. Several of the members are from overseas and it would be quite interesting to find out their reasons for turning to the blue half of Manchester.

My reasons for being a Blue

I was born in Stockport in ’66 and so I really did miss the halcyon days of glory at the Academy in the late 60’s/early 70’s. I wasn’t born into the traditional Manchester family of either red or blue, we had moved into the area from down south, so I assume the whole biased notion was not in our midst. My dad was an ex-Spurs fan from ages ago, my brother on the other hand fancied himself as a Red. He was the one who kept asking my dad to take him to a match as all his current school friends were Reds. However from where we live Maine Road is the closest ground and as most of the matches my brother wanted to go to were night matches and he had to get up for school the next day (he’s 6 years older than me) you could see why my dad wanted to try and cut down the times involved. So thanks to my dads insistence we both got to games at Maine Road. At the time early/mid 70’s City were a pretty reasonable team who played good footie and you could almost guarantee that the games would be good, so we were bitten by the blue bug early on.

Unfortunate as it might seem I honestly can’t remember my first game, I was probably too young to be really interested in the game (I can remember my first away game, Villa Park 1-0 defeat, sat among all the Villa fans in the Main stand, also remember sitting behind Helen on the coach!). I also vividly remember sitting in front of the TV waiting for the 76 League Cup final result to come through. World of Sport had finished without giving the result, so there I was glued, waiting for the result, they had a break and still nothing and then to my relief they had a sportsflash and gave the result, City had won 2-1, joy! All I had to do was wait for my brother to get home and tell me all about it. The match was being shown next day on ITV, I relived every detail as if I were there, thoroughly enjoying myself. Little did I know then, but that would be the last thing (to date) that City have won.

The games I do remember going to were the late 70’s excursions into europe via the UEFA Cup, the likes of Standard Liege, Widzow Lodz, Twente Entschede (forgive me if I spelt it wrong), Juventus, Borussia Munchengladbach all at Maine Road. At the time I was just starting secondary school so it was definitely make your mind up time between City or United, I decided to stick to my guns and stayed with City, even though we were outnumbered as usual. That was around the time I realised what a bunch or arrogant, self centred fans they really are. It was as if they had a god given right to win everything, unlike City fans who were grateful for anything. So my school years brought me into contact with fellow blues (most of whom I still go to the matches with) and still we suffered the ritual humiliation that being a blue brought.

After schooling I got to more and more of the games, this was definitely the time when I realised how good (!) being a blue was. Even when City lost I still felt I was supporting the right club, the camaraderie among the fans was something special, you felt like you were in the bosom of a friendly family. City were my love, when they lost it hurt.

Things have changed now though, they say the older you get the wiser you get. Well in my case I’ve certainly wised up to City. With the continued demoralising performances I decided that I could no longer afford to let City hurt me. I’m still a season ticket holder (10th year) but I don’t let defeat sting anymore I just accept that it’s bound to happen. My main reason for continued support of the Blues is the fact I despise anything from OT. The attitude emanating from OT is one of total belief that they rule the world and nobody can say anything different, the arrogance is unbelieveible. You just can’t sit there and take that sort of pressure, you can’t give up on City when United are doing so well (even though I’ve come close on a couple of occasions).

So my main reasons for being a blue:
My Dad, my brother, the ’76 League Cup win, laterly my mates and a dislike of OT.

Anybody want to continue the thread, reasons for being a blue?

Martin Ford

Helen is the woman at Maine Road who rings the bell! [Ashley]

So, thanks to Martin Ford, Anthony Johnson, Matt Dye, Rob Clarke & Mark Higgins.

Ashley Birch

Newsletter #4