The Blues are still not mathematically safe but it would take an unusual series of results for us to end up taking the drop. Then again, this is exactly what happened to Sheffield United and Oldham last season so we have to beware. Norwich are now definitely relegated and the last place can go to any of the following:
Manch. C. 41 12 13 16 51-61 49 -10
Sheffield W. 41 12 12 17 45-56 48 -11
Aston Villa 41 11 14 16 50-55 47 -5
West Ham 40 12 10 18 40-47 46 -7
Everton 40 10 16 14 43-51 46 -8
Coventry 40 11 13 16 41-61 46 -20
Crystal P. 40 11 12 17 31-43 45 -12
To tackle the candidates in order, Sheffield Wednesday are at home to Ipswich which most people would see as a 3 point banker so they’ll probably end up with a final tally of 51 points and thus achieve safety. Next come Villa who play doomed Norwich away; a win at Carrow Road would give them 50 points though getting this is far from certain. West Ham’s 41st game is against Liverpool and the way the red scousers have been playing of late, they could well win this one. If they did win, they still have the near impossible task of beating the Rags in their last game of the season, a game the Rags are hardly going to throw away, unless they lose to Southampton tonight! They would however, still have 49 points and potentially a better goal difference than us. Everton still have two to play, the first being away to Ipswich which they ought to win. Their last is a crunch game (for us as well) against relegation rivals Coventry away and it’s anyone’s guess who could win that one. A draw would still give them 50 points though, and they’d still possibly have a slightly better goal difference if they ended up on 49. Coventry have Spurs away and then the aforementioned Everton fixture and have to aim to win one of these but, with a far inferior goal average than us they would really need 4 points which is going to be far from easy. Lastly, Palace who have a very stiff game away at Leeds and then a final game away on Tyneside. To catch us they would need a win plus a draw, banging in a few goals in the process.
Now for my prediction! Palace just have to be favourites to take the drop with those two difficult away fixtures. Even if they start scoring then the most I think they’ll get is 3 points which will leave them on 48. Wednesday and Villa will get at least a point and go clear. This leaves Palace hoping that either West Ham, Everton or Coventry fail to get more than 2 points in their last two games. I think Everton will get a win at Portman Road and get beaten at Highfield Road so Coventry would also get three points. That leaves Palace needing a win and hoping the the Hammers don’t get one. My money would be on Palace.
After all that, what about City? We need three points to guarantee Premiership football next season (at the time of writing) though one would probably do it as Coventry would have to beat Spurs by something like 10-0 to gain a better goal difference than us. A Palace defeat tonight would ensure our survival.
Finally, we welcome our first African subscriber, South Africa to be precise although there is also someone there who reads MCIVTA on the WWW.
Next game Queens Park Rangers at home, Sunday 14th April 1995.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
NOTTINGHAM FOREST vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 6th May 1995
The hot, sunny weather at the Villa match continued right through to Saturday so it was a great day for Forest’s last home fixture of the season, one in which a win would clinch them a UEFA Cup place in their first season back in the Premiership. City still weren’t mathematically safe from relegation, requiring one more point to achieve this. Alternatively, a defeat for Crystal Palace (at home to West Ham) or anything but a win for Aston Villa (at home to Liverpool) would see us safe regardless of our own result. We arrived at the ground ninety minutes before kick-off and found several people still seeking tickets; Forest had declared the match a sell-out earlier in the week and it was in fact their biggest crowd of the season, no doubt helped by the presence of around 5,000 Blues.
Walking around the back of the new Trent End, we heard the distant chanting of ‘Uwe, Uwe Rösler’ and various other City songs. It turned out to be coming from The Aviary, the pub at the other end of Trent Bridge, the one mentioned by Chris Holt in MCIVTA 80. The pub and its beer garden were already packed with Blues and quite a few Forest fans having a darn good sing-song. A wide repertoire of songs were aired, including a number of older ditties that I’d never heard before!
Just before the game started, a presentation was made to Forest’s player of the year. Rather surprisingly, neither Collymore nor Roy, arguably Forest’s biggest two names, made the top three. The winner was Steve Stone, followed by Mark Crossley and Steve Chettle. Maybe Collymore’s exclusion was due in part to his apparent desire to leave the club? The City fans were in no doubt, taunting their Forest counterparts with chants of ‘Bye bye Stanley’, ‘Stanley wants a big club’ etc. before and during the match.
Uwe failed his fitness test, so City lined up with Burridge in goal, Summerbee at right-back, Edghill at left-back, Curle and Kernaghan in the centre, Flitcroft and Simpson is defensive midfield rôles, Walsh, Gaudino and Beagrie as attacking midfielders and Quinn as lone striker. Included on the bench was young winger Scott Thomas.
Soon after the game started it became clear that Forest were a class above City. Their forward pairing of Collymore and Roy were particularly impressive, working hard to close City players down as we attempted to build from the back and making good runs when moving forward themselves. Roy was proving to be a tremendous handful, pulling the left side of our defence out of shape which led to gaps for Collymore to exploit. City’s defence looked shambolic although it was at least organised enough to catch Forest offside several times. On a couple of other occasions Summerbee had to come inside and act as a last-gasp sweeper, which he did with aplomb.
Just as City seemed to be getting to grips with Forest and causing them a few problems of our own, they scored. Curle and Collymore chased a through ball; Curle got there first and needed all of his strength to hold off Collymore and shepherd the ball back to Burridge. However, Burridge misjudged the bounce of the ball and Collymore managed to stick out a leg and poke the ball towards goal. The ball bounced off the inside of the post and bobbled along the goal-line before Kernaghan cleared it into touch. It was too late though, the referee had given a goal. This was an even closer decision than Uwe’s goal on Wednesday and I still don’t think the ball was completely over the line even after seeing the TV replays. The referee was well-placed to see the incident though and there were no real complaints from the City players.
Within a few minutes it was nearly two-nil. There was a two-against- two break, Collymore squared the ball towards Roy and Burridge charged bravely out to block, injuring himself and Roy in the process. Play stopped for a couple of minutes as Roy received treatment and he continued for a while but had to be replaced on 29 minutes by Jason ‘stupid haircut’ Lee. Roy’s raids down the right flank had been causing City a lot of problems and his replacement was no mug either. Tall and extremely quick, he looked very impressive for the rest of the first half. City had a lot of possession in the last 15 minutes of the first half but didn’t really trouble Crossley in the Forest goal. Beagrie seemed unable to beat right-back Des Lyttle and most crosses came from fairly deep positions which were easily dealt with by the Forest defence. All we had to show from the first half were a few long shots from Fitzroy Simpson.
City looked a bit more purposeful in the second half and could have equalised in the 48th minute but Quinn’s far-post header only found the side-netting. There was little real passion from either side now though and it was looking like a meaningless end-of-season game even though both sides still had plenty to play for. City looked jaded and it was a popular decision when Scott Thomas replaced Dino on the hour. The youngster started off on the left wing, with Beagrie moving over to the right. He certainly wasn’t overawed by the occasion and had some good touches. As the game went on, there was a buzz of excitement from the City fans whenever he received the ball. The next near miss was at the City end though as a deflection took the ball just over the crossbar for a corner.
Quinn got on the end of another cross but this time his header was weak and straight at the ‘keeper. Simpson was battling well in midfield and set up a neat move where Walsh did a one-two with Quinn but mis-hit his shot from 20 yards. Back at the other end Stone missed a sitter after doing the hard work with a good run right through the City defence. On 75 minutes Beagrie and Thomas swapped over to their usual sides but in spite of having large chunks of possession we were unable to seriously trouble the Forest defence. Despite losing to a controversial goal, there can be no doubt that the better side won.
Frank Clark made a plea in the programme, which was repeated over the impressive PA system, for supporters not to invade the pitch at the end otherwise the players would not do a lap of honour after the game. It wasn’t heeded. Amongst the Forest fans on the pitch were a number of people wearing United shirts who took the opportunity to gesture at the City fans. And they call us bitter!
Saturday’s other results leave us still needing a point to be mathematically safe, though results in the midweek games may make this unnecessary. I’d rather not have to go into the last game needing a point to be sure (as in 1983, 1989 and last year) as the resulting tension would undoubtedly detract from the end of season party. We must stop doing this to ourselves.
LANCASHIRE FA YOUTH CUP FINAL
MANCHESTER CITY vs. BURNLEY, Friday 5th May 1995
- Nat Freeman, Anthony Callaghan, Gareth Evans, Ian Smith, LeeCrooks, Aled Rowlands, Steve Brennan, Ged Kielty, Michael Brown,Chris Greenacre, Ray Kelly.
- Brian McGlinchey, Sammy Harris, David Nurse.
- Andrew Oakes, Lee Richardson, Jason Hefferman, Steve Pickup,Gareth West, Gordon Dugdale, Tom Mutton, James Webster, Pat Elsworth,John Borland, Ian Duerden.
- Phil Eastwood, Simon Lowey, Craig Mawson.
City must have been fairly confident of winning this one after disposing of favourites Manchester United in a bruising semi-final on Monday night. However, there was a price to pay as Ged Tarpey had suffered knee ligament damage in the incident which saw United’s captain sent off. Also missing for the Blues was Scott Thomas who had travelled to Nottingham with the first team. A crowd of around 1,000 turned up at Maine Road, including a large proportion from Burnley.
The visitors nearly scored in the first minute as goalkeeper and defenders left the ball to each other and it skimmed across the face of goal straight to a Burnley player, whose shot was headed off the line. City showed off a couple of neat free-kick routines but the Burnley goalkeeper wasn’t troubled. After only 10 minutes the impressive Ged Kielty was booked for a lunging tackle in which he got the ball. I bet Neil McNab was proud of him! The game was fairly even, with the most impressive player being Burnley’s right winger Tom Mutton, whose pace, strength and ball skills were causing City problems. City’s left winger, Aled Rowlands, was forced to leave the pitch for 10 minutes to have treatment to a head injury. I wondered why he wasn’t substituted instead of us playing for so long with 10 men but he made quite an impact when he returned, showing plenty of pace and getting in some good crosses.
Kielty was lucky not to be sent off when he blocked a quickly-taken free kick from only about a yard away. The referee had a long chat with him but elected not to give him the second yellow card. The game was turning out to be very scrappy, with both sides giving away the ball with some very loose passing and yet displaying some great touches at other times. City were gradually getting on top though Burnley were dangerous on the break with some neat passing from midfield. City defended these quite well, forcing the breaking player wide whilst reinforcements arrived.
In the second half City took the game to Burnley and had several good opportunities. Rowlands had the beating of their right back and set up a good chance in the 48th minute when he got to the bye-line and sent in a good cross which was met well by the oncoming forward but the Burnley ‘keeper made a good save from the shot. He was to make several more saves from similar moves as the match progressed.
After about an hour, Burnley replaced their centre forward Pat Elsworth with Phil Eastwood. City were well on top now and playing some good football, a big improvement on the poor first half. On 65 minutes Callaghan sent in a great cross from the right but the Burnley keeper made another brilliant save from a point blank header. A few minutes later, Burnley substitute Eastwood picked up the ball halfway into the City half, beat a couple of players and hit a dipping shot just over Freeman and into the net from 20 yards. A superb goal. Straight away they made another substitution, bringing on Lowey to replace Duerden. Burnley then had their best spell of the game as they went for the kill in the next 5 or 10 minutes.
With ten minutes to go, City replaced Kielty (who had become less effective as the game wore on) with Harris. It was a frantic last period but Burnley withstood the pressure and defended well as City threw everything at them. The referee blew for time and there was a big cheer from the Burnley fans who had something to celebrate at last after enduring a relegation season whilst watching hated neighbours Blackburn dominate the Premiership. The medals and trophy were presented on the pitch and both sides were applauded by an appreciative crowd. City should stand a good chance of lifting the trophy next season as many of this year’s side will still be eligible.
The Easter vacation/holidays should be over by now so everybody should be back at work/college and in a position to vote on the MCIVTA T-shirt. No further designs were forthcoming so the choice is between the four designs which Svenn put together (pretty good actually). These can be seen on the WWW home page under the following links:
‘Manchester City Mailing List‘, then
‘Samples‘ which is beneath the T-shirt graphic.
Design 4 has a back as well as a front though whether we would actually choose to do this would depend on cost. Take a look and mail me with your choice; the winning design will be picked by majority verdict. When we have a final choice we’ll approach the printers and see how much the exercise will cost. Almost certainly price will be linked to numbers, a minimum of 40 being our target.
COTON INJURY – ANOTHER ONE FROM THOSE NICE BOYS AT THE SUN!
Well I see that the Coton business was just another fabrication by tabloid trash writers!
It was reported by two sources that Coton is embarassed by the whole situation, as he was under the effects of the anaesthetic when the alleged outburst about the club arose. The Sun however did point out at the bottom of the story that the hospital had been rung by Tony Book to see how he was, and that the hospital had been alerted about his arrival by the club doctor (either him or someone with a position at the club). This information was hidden at the bottom of the article… what a suprise! Coton apologised to the club (any need?) and a hospital doctor was outraged at the lies being tabled by the Sun. All together now “The media hates us” etc.
PAYMENTS TO MANAGERS
I’m surprised about the comments on payments to ex-managers. If any sort of contract is terminated by one party, then the other party has the right to be compensated if the terms of the contract have not been broken.
Crap results are generally the reason for sacking a manager; conversely the potential pay-out is sometimes a reason for keeping one. I bet Peter Reid and Mal Machin before him did not break any of the conditions of their contracts. How many managers would have good results as a condition of employment?
Perhaps a sensible clause in a contract would terminate any payments once a new job had been secured. However we saw Swales’ legal skills when he allowed Judas the opt-out clause which was invoked when he returned to Goodison.
OPINION – JOHN FOSTER
Am I the only one who has noticed that John Foster is the new David Unsworth? Two years from now everyone’ll be going on about how he’s going to be England captain. Goodness knows why we were playing David Brightwell and David Kerr when we had Fozzie waiting in the wings. We definitely need stability in the back four; half our defensive problems have been through having to keep changing the back four too often through injuries and Graham Failure-esque ‘experiments’. I’d love to see Fozzie given an extended run in the side next season.
EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS MEDALS
First thoughts were of the Rags, Liverpool and Forest, with the names Law, Kidd, Francis, Bowyer, Barrett and Johnston coming to mind. On checking the record books I find that Denis Law did not play against Benfica – he must have been injured because he only used to be suspended for Xmas and the New Year. Colin Barrett did not play for Forest in their matches, so there are four to find.
Mick Robinson played for Liverpool and was a substitute against Roma. Paul Walsh played against Juventus in the Heysel final. He only got a losers’ medal, does that count?
Aston Villa provide the next one – Ken McNaught played for Villa against Bayern Munich in 1982. He graced Maine Road in a loan spell from West Brom playing seven games in 84/85.
I can’t find any other players, but Billy McNeill won a medal with Celtic in 1967 when they beat Inter Milan, and was on the losing side to Feyenoord in 1970.
Could be wrong but what about Gidman, did he play for Villa when they won?
RESULTS & LEAGUE TABLE
All results up to and including 8th May
May 6, 1995 Aston Villa - Liverpool 2 - 0
Crystal Palace - West Ham 1 - 0
Everton - Southampton 0 - 0
Ipswich - Coventry 2 - 0
Leeds - Norwich 2 - 1
Leicester - Chelsea 1 - 1
Nottingham - Manchester C. 1 - 0
Queen's P.R. - Tottenham 2 - 1
May 7, 1995 Manchester U. - Sheffield W. 1 - 0
May 8, 1995 Blackburn - Newcastle 1 - 0
Pos TEAM P W D L F A PTS
1. Blackburn Rovers 41 27 8 6 79 37 89 +42
2. Manchester United 40 25 9 6 74 26 84 +48
3. Nottingham Forest 41 22 10 9 70 41 76 +29
4. Liverpool 40 20 11 9 63 33 71 +30
5. Newcastle United 41 19 12 10 65 44 69 +19
6. Leeds United 40 19 12 9 55 36 69 +19
7. Tottenham 40 16 13 11 64 54 61 +10
8. QPR 41 16 9 16 58 57 57
9. Wimbledon 41 15 10 16 46 63 55
10. Southampton 40 12 17 11 58 59 53
11. Arsenal 41 13 12 16 51 47 51
12. Chelsea 41 12 15 14 48 54 51
13. Manchester City 41 12 13 16 51 61 49
14. Sheffield Weds. 41 12 12 17 45 56 48
15. Aston Villa 41 11 14 16 50 55 47
16. West Ham United 40 12 10 18 40 47 46
17. Everton 40 10 16 14 43 51 46
18. Coventry City 40 11 13 16 41 61 46
19. Crystal Palace 40 11 12 17 31 43 45
R 20. Norwich City 41 10 12 19 36 53 42
R 21. Leicester City 41 6 10 25 43 78 28
R 22. Ipswich Town 40 7 6 27 35 88 27
With thanks to Rupert Ward & Odd Magne
WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
Thanks to Paul, Roger, Jim & Ian.
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