Hmmm! The words ‘thick’ and ‘fast’ come to mind! Literally 30 minutes after sending out MCIVTA 85 I had a fairly full number 86. It seems there’s a lot of speculation going on which is, in my opinion, just that. It’s a well-worn press device to weedle the truth out of some poor individual. They basically say that everyone and his cousin is getting the job in the hope that either they are right or that some unfortunate individual in the know accidentally lets the cat out of the bag thinking that the info has been leaked elsewhere.
Bolton beat Wolves last night and will now contest the play-off final against Reading where they must be seen as favourites. Although I’d like to see Rioch at Maine Road, it goes against the grain a little to wish bad luck on a club who are playing good football, so I’ll just wait and see.
We’ve plenty of opinion in this issue about managers and players as well as a belated QPR report from a chilly Martin Ford, read on….!
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. QPR, Sunday 14th May 1995
This was decision day for the Premier title, everything hung on the results from Anfield and Upton Park.
On the City front I was in some confusion; the MEN had proclaimed the game was a near sell-out, with every ticket for the Kippax sold while elsewhere in the ground there were some 1700 tickets left. Just how did City know every seat in the Kippax would be taken? I was under the impression that it was personal choice whether you wanted to take up your seat there or your temporary seat elsewhere in the ground. Typical City.
I was quite looking forward to taking up my seat in the upper tier of the Kippax, to finally see what I’d been promised all season. I must admit that although I didn’t particularly like the outside of the Kippax, once inside the perimeter wall the stand looked much better. The disappointing thing about the stand is that it’s still nowhere near complete. Both the outside and inside still need a lot of work to get it upto scratch! So, having climbed up about four flights of stairs I emerged out onto the top tier. The view was pretty good and it was surpassed when I eventually got to my seat, Block FF (Umbro end), Row 52 (very back row) Seat 172. I could see over the Main Stand toward St*****rd, I could see the city centre and out towards Cheshire, very impressive. As for the pitch view, although high up it still afforded a good panoramic view of the pitch; it’s a different perspective that high. My one complaint about the stand is due to the altitude: it was flaming freezing. I dread to think what it will be like in the middle of Winter. However, that may be due to the wind whipping through the holes in the stand. Sorry I digress, now for the game.
City came out with what appeared to be the usual formation of four attacking players (Rösler, Quinn, Walsh and the take your pick of either Dino or Buzzer) and the rest of the team were the usual formation, including Budgie in goal. Although City knew there was nothing to play for, I still expected them to show some pride and reward the fans with a good performance. However, as soon as the game kicked off it became clear that City just weren’t interested, they just didn’t appear to want to know. The crowd was also very subdued with most more interested in events elsewhere. QPR showed all the early endeavour and Ferdinand, Sinclair and Impey were a constant thorn in City’s side. After 13 minutes QPR took the lead, with another comical goal. City just didn’t defend a through ball and eventually an out of position Budgie pushed the ball out wide to Curle who let it slip under his foot; before they could make amends the cross had been flicked inside the far post by Ferdinand. City had fallen behind to a soft goal and to perfectly honest it was about all they deserved. Still City were very lazy in their play and didn’t wake up. After 26 minutes City were on level terms when Quinn controlled the ball, turned on the edge of the box and hit a screamer into the roof of the net. At last the bit of skill the game had been waiting for; maybe now City would wake up? Unfortunately the game drifted off again. The crowd however had some good news and their spirits lifted when first the news came through that Shearer had scored at Anfield and then Michael Hughes had scored for the Hammers. It certainly brought joy to the fans but it did little to improve a pitiful game.
The second half wasn’t much better, City were very poor but at least QPR looked like they wanted to win the game and showed some commitment! Still the crowd wouldn’t get behind the Blues and were far more intent on listening to how the rags were doing; to be fair that was far more interesting. The unthinkable started to materialise when the rags and Liverpool both scored equalisers, which meant that the atmosphere grew more suppressed. The game seemed to be drifting further away from City when Ferdinand took advantage of a Kernaghan slip (after my praise for him, it just had to be the kiss of death), and squared the ball to enable Dichio to score for Rangers. It was once more deserved; Rangers had really looked the most likely to score.
Once again though City managed to scrape themselves back into the game after Dino was fouled(?) in the box, about all he did all game. Curle took responsibility for the spot kick and drilled it against Roberts’ legs. However, he reacted quick enough to prod the rebound home and get City back on level terms. This did very little to lift the crowd or the players and once more the game settled into the tedium of before. City made a double substitution and replaced Walsh and Dino with Simpson and Thomas; even this move did little to inject some life into the game. As Dino went off Rösler said something to him; he was warmly applauded off and he waved to the crowd in response. Personally I think that was his final game as a City player. Just as the game seemed to be heading for a 2-2 draw, up popped Ferdinand to score the winner in the 89th minute. However, this seemed to draw little response from the fans who were still awaiting news from Upton Park. That came slightly after full time at Maine Road. The City players were given some boos as they tried to do a lap of honour (which to be fair was deserved) and then the news of the rags’ draw came through and the atmosphere lifted; the fans started singing and clapping. Of the players only Quinn went on a near lap of honour; the rest mulled around before trooping off.
So City finished the season with a very poor performance and very little pride shown in the 3-2 defeat against QPR (and as it later transpired, it indirectly(?) meant the end of BH as manager). Once more City fans were left contemplating what might have been. The only thing we were left to smile about was the fact that United blew the title; once again our only celebration is at their downfall. When are we going to be rewarded for our own endeavours?
So we’re left with very little success to look back upon; does it inspire confidence for next season? We’ll just have to wait until August to see how everything turns out.
NEWS – KIDD RUMOUR
GMR are saying that Brian Kidd is the man to replace Brian Horton. They’re not naming their source but they don’t usually stick their necks out like this without a reliable source. Ken Ramsden, United secretary(?) said that if City had made an approach to Kidd he’d be very disappointed with them since it was in the middle of their Cup Final preparations etc.
If this has come from the club (which apparently it has), it smacks of the fiasco with Joe Royle after Mel Machin was sacked. Supposing Kidd doesn’t want the job (which wouldn’t be at all surprising – Ramsden said he was “Red through and through”) – who would take it knowing they weren’t first choice?
NEWS – KIDD DENIAL
City have now issued an official denial that they have made an approach in Brian Kidd. When asked whether he’d been contacted, Kidd laughed and said “no comment.”
NEWS – KIDD AT MAINE RD?
Word is (on BBC North West news) that Kidd has gone to Maine Road for a meeting with Lee…
NEWS – KIDD RUMOUR QUASHED
Francis Lee has dismissed as “utter rubbish” the speculation about Brian Kidd. United say Kidd has a 3-year contract and he will not be released anyway. Bruce Rioch “won’t even think about anything else” until the play-offs are sorted out.
NEWS – DINO’S LEGAL PROBLEMS
Translated from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18.5.95
An official charge has been issued against professional footballer Maurizio Gaudino which is currently being processed by the Magistrates Court in Mannheim. The 28 year old international must now reckon with a prosecution in connection with the December allegations of fraud, racketeering and covering up a criminal act. This was officially confirmed by State Prosecutor Ulrich Dietz. It isn’t however, yet clear when the court will reach a decision whether to proceed or not. Gaudino will be accused of insurance fraud in connection with stolen cars.
NEWS – GRAHAM RUMOUR
According to this morning’s GLR reports, FL has lined up George Graham to fill the manager’s job. He isn’t suspended from the game but may well be after an FA hearing coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m not too sure about this move – it’s a fine line between my desperate desire for success and pride in City’s reputation for ‘proper’, if inconsistent, football.
NEWS – LATEST RUMOURS
An unnamed 3rd party has informed Maine Road that George Graham would “jump at the chance” of joining City. He’s also set for a lengthy legal battle with the FA during the close season.
Bruce Rioch is said to be “furious” over reports linking him to Maine Road but he has not ruled out the move, just the timing. He’s quoted as saying “how can I comment on something I know nothing about?”
Dave Bassett is set to accept an extended contract at Sheffield United.
Peter Reid has agreed terms with Sunderland and will sign a 2-year contract on Monday after being assured of money for players.
There are rumours linking Trevor Francis with the City job :-((
CUP FINAL ON THE INTERNET
Football fans at home and abroad will be able to follow the build-up to the FA Cup final – and the big match itself – on the Internet for the first time this year.
PA’s “The Road to Wembley” gives background information on Everton and Manchester United – the clubs, the players and the history of one of the best known competitions in world sport.
The service currently provides a taster of the event and will be built up day-by-day.
During the match, there will be running reports from PA Sport’s four-man team at Wembley, pictures as they are sent by PA’s photographers, updated statistics and sound bites of the key moments from the BBC Radio 5 Live commentary.
This will be followed by post-match analysis, reaction, graphics on how the goals were scored and a chance to vote by e-mail for the Internet Man of the Match.
Fans can access the service through PA’s Internet server by entering: www.padd.press.net.
The above was taken without kind permission from the
Electronic Telegraph [Ashley]
As most of you will know, Brian Horton was sacked on 16 May. At 2pm Colin Barlow is reported to have read out the following statement:
“The board of directors have given consideration to the manager’s position and today he has had an amiable meeting with the chairman. In view of the team’s performances over the season, it has been decided that it is in the best interests of the football club that his services be dispensed with immediately.”
“The position has now been advertised. I’m not going to comment on whether the board has someone else in mind.”
Apparently Horton forced Lee’s hand by asking him to unequivocally clarify his position(!) This was clearly on the cards since, despite reports of Lee’s support for Horton, Saturday’s football Pink contains a speech from Lee which includes the following quotes:
“I don’t believe that escaping relegation is any great reason to celebrate.”
“We should be thinking in terms of trophies and European football.”
“With the players we have at our disposal at Maine Road I honestly felt that we would finish in the top six this season…”
“… on the playing side this has been another disappointing season.”
The article finished in typical MUEN style- a picture captioned: “Just one of the views from the new Umbro Stand at Maine Road”; the view looking across at the old Kippax!
City now owe Brian Horton about 250,000 pounds. The Guardian reports Bruce Rioch, Dave Bassett and Mick McCarthy as potential successors, whilst the Mirror names Dave Bassett and Ray Harford. It also rules out Mick McCarthy, Bruce Rioch and Joe Kinnear. Personally, I wish Horton well and thank him for some exciting, open football but he never looked a trophy-winner. My choice for new manager would be Bobby Robson, followed by Bruce Rioch or Steve Coppell. Brian Kidd or Alan Smith? Maybe. Bassett or McCarthy? Definitely not. Whoever it is, Lee has a month or two, and his personal prestige, to acquire someone worthy of the post and that person should be given at least three seasons’ support (bar relegation) to achieve something.
Congratulations to Blackburn and Andy Cole.
Somebody told me that the souvenir shop’s lease runs out soon (how long soon is I don’t know) and City don’t plan to renew the lease. So are City finally going to get all the profits from the shop into the coffers? Well, as is typical of events at Maine Road, it appears as though the current leaseholder will take City to court to try to get the lease renewed, so are City going to be dragged into a legal wrangle? How much of this is true I don’t know and as for where the source of the info came from I don’t know that either but is it worth anything as a bit of gossip?
There is a piece on this in ‘Virtual Manchester’ (http://www.manchester.com/). The owner who has run the place since the 1960’s will contest the termination as he claims that the club (for club read Wiggy) gave him some assurances back before time began that the lease was his forever and ever and ever…
I thought you might be interested in one or two former Blues now plying their trade in the Endsleigh League. My own team Crewe (I’m a season ticket holder) has got two: Neil Lennon is a full Nothern Ireland international who City let go as a teenager, but then don’t they they let all their best young players go? He is an excellent midfielder who can both win the ball and use it when he gets it. He was selected for the PFA second division team this season and, after the one year left on his contract at Crewe, will probably move on to a big club. I think Neil made one or two appearnaces for City as a full-back. The other former Blue at Crewe is Steve Macauley. He is the team captain and was voted player of the season this year. He was a member of the City youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in the late 1980s (with Paul Lake, David White perhaps, though I am not sure). He was released by City without ever figuring at a senior level; he was probably a bit scrawny. He played for Fleetwood in the Northern Premier and was picked up by Crewe three years ago. He is another player who should go far, but then Crewe have got a good reputation for producing players – Platt, Rob Jones, Ashley Ward (another former Blue) and Geoff Thomas (though we keep quiet about him).
OPINION – NEW MANAGER I
Like most of the contibutors to MCIVTA, I think that getting rid of BH was the right thing to do. A decent man but one who was IMHO out of his depth. This of course brings the question of his replacement. If the bookies aren’t taking bets then the replacement has already been decided on and it’s just a matter of time before the name is announced 😉
So who are the possibilities:
Rioch and Todd would be my personal choice, though I suspect much will depend on the play-offs (come on Wolves!!!) Franny and Bruce go way back: They were in the same team at Bolton and apparently live close to each other these days. Let’s hope they bring half the Bolton team with them if it is these two.
Pleat: is an excellent coach, who churns out good, young players at a no hope club called Luton. He turned down the Spurs job earlier in the year though…
Bassett: Like someone said, another Peter Reid. But then again you don’t see his teams roll over and die like BH’s have done on a number of occasions. Rumoured to be on his way to Sheffield Wednesday to replace Trev.
Mick McCarthy: Has done a good job at Millwall, has got them playing a passing game. Likes the “diamond” midfield system. Produced some good youngsters (Kennedy to Liverpool for